Features/ Special-features/ Sustainably Sourced, Passionately Produced | MG ZS EV's trip to Sula Vineyards

Sustainably Sourced, Passionately Produced | MG ZS EV's trip to Sula Vineyards

Global warming is a looming fear that consumes us all, and as the consumers of all things consumable, we find ourselves a lot more responsible for our needs. More and more companies are shifting towards sustainability, be it in terms of sourcing or in terms of creating. 

Sustainability is a new buzzword that almost every manufacturer seems to throw around, but only some go through with it and put their money where their mouth is. One such company to go all the way with sustainability is a famous beverage maker named Sula. So to truly see just how sustainable their process is, I’ve decided to drive over to their lovely vineyard in Nashik’s green hills. 

To join me on this journey is a rather suitable candidate in the form of the MG ZS EV, and together we hope to learn a lot more about how Sula makes its tasty beverages oh so sustainably! 

It’s a lovely weekend morning, and I ponder a rather interesting thought. How does one define the word progress? As a species, do we measure progress based on infrastructure improvements? Or as its improvements in art? In technology or, better yet, our drive for a more sustainable future? It got me thinking and wondering how far we have come in all of those aspects. While I ponder upon that thought, I don’t intend to sulk inside a concrete jungle but instead hit the open road and discover some beautiful roads while pondering upon that thought I had earlier.

So about our destination, for those of you that don’t know, Nashik is known for being an ancient city and more popularly as the wine capital of India. Quite a suitable destination for a weekend. So, without further delay, my bags are packed, and I’m off on my lovely road trip.

The road to Sula is rather bumpy, but with its supple ride quality, the MG ZS EV managed to absorb everything along the way without letting any undulations seep into the cabin. The MG ZS EV is powered by a 50.3 kWh Lithium Ion battery that produces an output of 174 bhp and 280 Nm of torque. 

These numbers are more than sufficient to transport you and your family across the country and put your foot down, and you’d notice these numbers are sufficient to put a lovely grin on your face too. It accelerates with great vigour without breaking the silence and comfort inside the cabin. After 5 hours, I finally arrived at Sula Vineyard. One that was started in 1999 and needed little to no introduction. Even though I was halfway through my battery, I decided to use one of the chargers available at Sula to top up the MG ZS EV. 

Walking through the Vineyard at Sula, I noticed several solar panels on the roofs. Infact, upon further inquiry, I discovered that over 60% of their electricity is via solar. The folks at Sula take sustainability quite seriously and have set deadlines for themselves to achieve a lower overall carbon footprint. Switching over all the fluorescent light bulbs to LED to find a more efficient way to consume their water supply has allowed them to become quite a sustainable vineyard.  

Even the property staff operate all-electric vehicles, including two and four-wheelers. After being ferried around by one of them, I went to enjoy a lovely meal at one of their restaurants, where even the cookers were induction cookers instead of ones running on LPG. The pumps used to pump the water are also powered by solar as opposed to the conventional diesel ones used to see. Even their buildings were constructed using pre-engineered metal buildings, which they say helped them save up to 400 tons of CO2 emissions. 

Everything from waste disposal to water harvesting accumulates into a greener and more efficient process. Sula sets a great example of how something as leisurely as making a beverage can be made sustainably by making more thoughtful and environmentally conscious choices. In contrast, the MG ZS EV pushes the envelope in transport and drives us towards a greener and more technologically advanced future. 

As technology has progressed, so has our ability to access it, and thanks to MG’s pursuit, you can access some pretty cool tech as part of their iSMART feature list. It includes a dedicated section that can provide some pretty cool information that you’d like to have access to as an EV owner. For instance, it has a dedicated section just for your charging information, like your charging status, the current voltage, the estimated charging time and the expected range based on your current charge. MG Motors has also integrated a clever feature that allows you to see how much CO2 you’ve saved and actively measure your contribution to reducing your overall carbon footprint. 

The inbuilt navigation is clever; it’ll warn you once you’re low on charge and recommend chargers close to your location for convenience. Even if you’re at half your current capacity, you’re two touches away from finding all the nearest chargers in your vicinity, which makes life so much easier. In case your hands are too busy, you can access all of these features simply by voice, with the voice command feature having access to over 100 commands at your disposal. Driving around in the MG ZS EV has been a relatively relaxed affair. Range anxiety isn’t a thing I have ever faced; with a respectable claimed range of over 400 kms, the MG ZS EV makes for a great companion even if you’re not purely environmentally conscious. 

At some point, we’d see EVs as a niche product designed and made to soothe the environmentally conscious amongst us, but in today’s day and age, I can guarantee the ZS EV would turn most petrol heads to the light side and make them reconsider their stance. It is one serious performance bargain if you think about it. 

Coming back to progress, if something like winemaking, a craft that’s centuries old, can now be conducted in tandem with modern technology and executed sustainably, then why can’t something like transport be approached with the same mindset? It brings me to the improvement in technology and infrastructure. Throughout my time with the ZS EV, I’ve learnt how advanced it is in these aspects, and it’s a true testament to progress. At some point, you’d have to pay a bomb to have access to such performance or even such features, but MG has managed to make it so accessible, and that too without hurting the planet; if that’s not a win-win situation, then I don’t know what is. 

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TopGear Magazine February 2024