This sports car was dead and buried, but a new owner plans to breathe life back into the concept, albeit with some thoroughly modern features. Australia’s fastest-growing mainstream brand is looking to add some excitement to its line-up with an electric sports car capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in less than 3 seconds.
A concept version of the Ferrari-fast MG Cyberster has unveiled in Shanghai earlier this year. The general manager of the brand’s EV division, Danny Lenartic, says it could be headed Down Under. “That’s firmly in our plans,” he says.
The two-door, two-seater roadster, developed at MG’s design center in London, pays homage to the British MGB sports car and crucially will be available in right-hand drive.
MG claimed a range of 800km for the concept car, but it remains to be seen whether that can be achieved with the production version. There is no firm on-sale date, but 2024 seems logical, given that it will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the original Morris Garages company. “That’s going to be an epic year for us from a line-up perspective. It’s just excitement,” he says.
Lenart says a sports car would be a fitting reward for the MG car clubs of the world, who have been “custodians of this brand through a lot of turmoil” and are warming to the latest incarnation of the brand.
He predicts that by 2024, EVs will be a common sight on Australian roads. “The proliferation of electric vehicles, I think, is only 24 months away, in terms of uptake,” he says.
The decision by Victoria and NSW to offer $3000 subsidies and stamp duty concessions, which allows MG to sell its ZS EV for less than $40,000, is already starting to have an impact on demand.
“The two biggest populations in Australia now have access to subsidies. Globally, subsidies drive growth. Government subsidies have driven growth in every other market.” He says that the subsidies are being backed by infrastructure development will alleviate customer concerns about range and charging networks.
“All the signs are there for EV uptake. I can see from first-hand experience what the Victorian subsidy announcement did for our EV sales in Victoria within a week. Unfortunately, the following week, they went into lockdown, and everything stopped,” he says. Victoria had more than 700 EV registrations within a month of the announcement.
Price remains a barrier to EV uptake, but Lenartic believes it will become less relevant with younger buyers, who are more likely to be looking for Netflix-style subscription contracts for their cars, where the extra upfront cost of the electric vehicle will be offset by cheaper running costs, including lower fuel and servicing costs.
He says the Australian appetite for homeownership and car ownership is waning, particularly with younger people, who prefer the subscription model because it has the allure of “try before you buy”.
“I think EV subscription models will become more sophisticated. I think that if you do want to hit the Nullarbor, there’ll be an option to do that in another vehicle available that’s more suitable, and that will be part of a loyalty program,” he says.