A Cautionary Tale: How a Missing OS Update for the MG ZS EV Locked Us Out of 70km Range

A Cautionary Tale: How a Missing OS Update for the MG ZS EV Locked Us Out of 70km Range

Earlier this month, Gizmodo Australia reviewed the MG ZS EV by taking it on a 1,000km road trip. Something that was missing from the review was that the MG ZS EV was missing a software update, as the car we drove was actually a static display car.

The biggest takeaway from the review was that the range is not good. The car reported a maximum of 254km range on a full battery across the multi-day trek, which was well below the 320km WLTP range the car is sold with.

This was, of course, alarming. At first, MG Motors Australia told me that differences in the forecasted range can be reflective of the car’s battery management system or driving mode in use.

This is true, but it wasn’t the issue I encountered. Sometime after the review went live, MG was able to confirm that the car Gizmodo Australia reviewed was not updated with the most recent operating system, which was causing it to report a battery range well below what it was capable of.

“Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, the performance of electric vehicles is as dependent on their software as much as their hardware. Software updates can have the same impact as tuning your engine,” an MG spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia.

This is quite a troubling issue to encounter, and not one that I necessarily expected to run into when reviewing a car. That being said, it completely makes sense. Tesla has previously increased the range of its vehicles using software updates, so it’s no new thing that range estimations and battery limits can be regulated by the operating system.

Not only was the software skin completely different to similar models, as was shown to me by an owner on Twitter, but the operating system was effectively locking me out of about 70km range.

“Further investigation into the actual vehicle that was reviewed by Gizmodo has revealed that the software had not been updated as it was originally delivered as a static display car,” the MG spokesperson added.

The car that we reviewed was a demo model and did not have the most recent software update applied. It was running an old version of the operating system, not updated for the 2022 MG ZS EV range and was more reflective of the 2021 model.

This issue is likely an anomaly, however, it’s useful to keep in mind if your new MG ZS EV (or any EV for that matter) is reporting a range well below what should be expected of it. MG was happy to provide information on how this issue could be overcome.

“MG regularly releases software updates with new features and user improvements to the in-car and ownership experience. This can be carried out by one of our 83 authorised MG dealers in Australia and is included in the factory Precise Price Service schedule,” the MG spokesperson said.

This goes for most new cars at the moment, as the MG ZS EV isn’t the only car that receives updates. Although some brands like Tesla offer over-the-air updates, most cars would need to be taken to an authorised dealer to receive updates. Sometimes it’ll be handled with basic vehicle servicing, sometimes it’s a separate thing.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Well, it’s a reminder to take car operating system updates seriously. You could be locked out of major features, just as we were.

MG has offered Gizmodo Australia another ZS EV to review, but because of the nature of these reviews, it’s not something we have the bandwidth to do just yet.

That being said, we appreciate MG taking the time to clarify the issue with the vehicle.

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