MG ZS EV 2022 broke down. Vehicle Control Systems Fault.
This is a Part 2 of my Bombay - Bengaluru - Bombay trip.
Hello and welcome to the second part of the article about the Mumbai - Bengaluru - Mumbai road trip. If you’ve already read part 1, you can skip this quick recap and head straight to the section that says ‘Davanagere Charger’.
P.S. : It is a 30 min read, please get the popcorn ready.
In August, I drove down from Bombay to Bengaluru in my MG ZS EV, purchased in late April 2022. I’ve covered roughly 13500 kms since then with many trip reports already published here (New Delhi), here (Kalaburagi), here (Pune) and here (Bhopal).
I left from Bengaluru early morning on a Sunday. I had slow charged the car overnight a little, however, I still had to top up at Tumkuru before heading to my next stop - Davanagere. I had been driving my car for 3 hours prior to reaching the fast charger at Davanagere. My car broke down here. You can read about the journey till this point here.
As usual, if you’d like to skip the details, you can directly scroll down to the conclusions and recommendations section.
At the outset, I’d like to clarify that I’m just documenting my experience so that MG can improve their service. This, in no way, is supposed to be considered a piece to favour ICE vehicles over EVs. EVs are, and will be, my recommendation in most cases.
With positive vibes, I started out from the Zeon charger at Tumkuru and headed straight to Davanagere, around 200kms ahead. I decided to do it in a single go. Given that I had already travelled on this route, I knew that the roads were amazing and I didn’t have to worry about the roads as such.
I reached the charger at around 11:40 am, attached the gun and initiated charging from the app. The Delta charger by Tata Power has a tiny 2x14 display which pops up what it is doing. Once you initiate charging on the app, the charger checks if the charging gun is connected. Then it starts communicating with the car and basic information is exchanged like - battery voltage pack, acceptable current limits by the car, current limit on the charger side, voltage levels on the charger side, etc. Basically digital signals before the actual power is delivered to the car.
Once the communication is all set, the charger proceeds to do something called an isolation test. If the isolation test is successful, that means that the car is ready to receive the power from the charger and the car will start charging. In this case, the isolation test didn’t complete and the charger prompted me to dock the cable back on the charger. I repeated this process again. This had never really happened to me in the 50+ charging sessions till that point, so I was pretty surprised to see charging not being initiated. However, I kept my calm and redid the whole thing. It kept getting stuck at the same step. The isolation test wouldn’t complete and the car wouldn’t start charging. There was an error code called ‘00312C’. I tried looking up the error code and came across this handy guide by PulseEnergy. (P.S. : You’ll have to search for C312, instead of 312C to get the error). The error said ‘Stop charging at PreCharge’ which meant that the charging hadn’t been initiated.
I restarted the charger from the mains and tried the whole thing again, assuming that this would probably get rid of the problem that the charger had. Nope, no luck. Same issue. I called the Tata Power call centre, and was put on hold by a prerecorded voice. After being on hold for more than 10 minutes, I got connected with an executive, who had no idea what was wrong. He said that they don’t have access to the charger error codes and can only suggest restarting the charger and releasing the emergency switch.
I had spent roughly 15-20 minutes figuring this out. Given that I was not making any headway with this charger, I had a couple of options. I could slow charge at 7.2kW at a nearby Hyundai showroom, or go back 50kms to a possibly working or a non working Zeon charger. I had a range of 75kms, so going back 50kms wasn’t going to be a problem if I knew for sure that the charger was working. Plus, I’d rather go forward on a route than backward. The JioBP charger around 40kms away wasn’t functional yet, which would have been a blessing, but sadly I still had this situation to figure out.
On field debugging
I decided to head to the nearby Hyundai charger and decide what to do next. I got into the car and started it. The car wouldn’t go into drive or reverse mode. The instrument cluster flashed an orange sign saying ‘Vehicle Control Systems Fault, please stop safely’. Now, the non charging was hardly an issue and I had a new one to deal with.
I assumed that this could be because of unsuccessful charging sessions. So I did the rational thing that anyone could do. I switched off the car and restarted it. Still the same issue. So I had to resolve this somehow.
I pressed the iCall button on the steering wheel and tried speaking with MG to resolve the issue. On the side, I quickly summarised the issue in a message and sent it out to a couple of groups asking for their help and what they had done if they were ever caught in a similar situation. Responses started pouring in, suggesting different things. It took MG over an hour to connect me with a proper, non call centre technician. It wasn’t because I was put on hold a-la-Tata Power, it was because I had to explain my issue a few times and they asked me to repeat a couple of steps again and again. On call with the technician we tried the following things :
Lock the car.
Disconnect the negative terminal of the aux battery, wait for 10-15 mins
Reconnect the negative terminal and restart the car.
Nope. Didn’t work.
The MG technician suggested trying the following, under his supervision on a video call:
Lock the car
Disconnect the negative terminal of the aux battery
Disconnect the positive terminal of the aux battery
Remove the coupler connecting the main motor and the aux battery
Remove another black coupler on the bottom side of the aux battery
Basically, the technician wanted me to disconnect all possible power sources from the battery which I could find and wait for 10-15 mins. I also checked the auxiliary battery voltage to see if it had drained out and if jump starting it would work. Thankfully the Tata showroom guys had a multimeter on hand and the voltage reading was around 12.86V, well above 12V. Ergo, not discharged. I figured that since the auxiliary battery is not a problem, I should at least charge my phone and wireless earphones. I clearly had a lot of talking to do on the phone.
I waited, reconnected everything back, positive terminal first and then the negative terminal, and tried rebooting the car. The error persisted. I asked the technician to figure out a solution while I was looking for some answers on my own.
The groups I had reached out to, suggested a combination of similar steps, but nothing really worked. I searched in online forums and found out that folks in the UK had faced similar problems, and their car had to be towed back to the service station for rectification. For some, just disconnecting their battery and keeping it idle for 15-20 minutes had helped and their car then worked just as it should.
I got a call from a fellow India MG owner, explaining that he was headed to Bengaluru from Hyderabad and he got the same fault. The only way it could be rectified was after the car was towed back to the service station in Hyderabad and the technicians fixed the issue. The technician basically connected their laptop to the car, removed a ‘software flag’, rebooted the car, and the car could charge and it could continue as if nothing went wrong. UK folks suggested similar steps taken by MG to resolve this issue.
By now, I was pretty sure that this was a function of the ‘software flag’ raised due to some issue or the other, and there was no way to resolve this issue remotely, or at least no one could tell me something that worked, with authority, including MG technicians. Most solutions by the community focused on the auxiliary battery, but given that I knew the voltage of the battery, I was confident that the battery wasn’t discharged and everything was ok with the auxiliary battery. However, just knowing the voltage of the battery is not sufficient and disconnecting it helps “reset” the other systems that run on it. Any sane person would ask, “why do you think we need to wait for 15-20 mins and why would a quick on and off wont work?”. My hunch is that it would take a few mins for the capacitors in the circuit to fully discharge, thereby allowing a “complete reset”.
After trying a few unsuccessful things with the MG technician, I was disappointed and realised that the car had to be towed. I called MG again, was connected with a new representative, had to explain the issues all over again and asked them to arrange for an RSA (Road Side Assistance) to pick up the vehicle. I’ve never had my car towed, so I didn’t know how the process works.
The RSA request was raised at 12:16 PM on 28 Aug 2022. I spoke with their technician at around 1:25 PM. We had a conclusion by 2:30PM that the car would have to be towed to a service centre. 28th August 2022 was a Sunday, and I had originally planned to be back in Mumbai by Monday evening to start work from Tuesday. MG came back to me saying that they are scheduling a tow pick up truck to take the car to the nearest showroom which is MG Mangaluru, around 250 kms from Davanagere. I suggested that they could tow the car all the way to Mumbai and that way, I could get a ride too. However, it is MG’s policy to tow the car to the nearest service station only and not to a service station of the user’s choice. Fair enough.
I was figuring out the best way to get to Mumbai in time for my meetings on Tuesday. Upon following up with Mannat from MG’s RSA team, I got to know that MG Mangaluru is no longer an option because there were flash floods being predicted in the next 4-5 days. So MG was evaluating if they could send the car back to Bengaluru, which was roughly 270kms away. It didn’t make any sense for me to go back to Bengaluru and then drive back to Mumbai once the car was fixed.
I had a long call with Mannat and I explained to her that I cannot travel back with the car unless the car takes me to Mumbai. She assured me that MG were trying out a solution to figure out a way to get me to Mumbai by Monday night. MG’s preferred option was to get me a cab to Mumbai, but they were unsuccessful. Davanagere didn’t have an airport and the nearest airport was around 100 kms away, with very few direct flights to Mumbai. I had 9 small bags, including 2 cartons, so unless MG was going to pay me to buy a suitcase to dump everything in one or two bags or bought extra baggage with my ticket, flight wasn’t an option.
MG took their own sweet time to figure out the best way to get me to Mumbai. Eventually I figured out that there was a train from Davanagere on Monday at around 11 AM which would reach Mumbai on Tuesday at around 6 AM. That train was perfect for me and I hoped that I would be able to carry all my luggage comfortably in it. I had to call MG and ask them to set me up in a hotel for the night, get me a cab from the charger to the hotel and hotel to the train station the next day and pay for my train ticket to Mumbai under major expenses. MG had also promised that they will assign a driver to drive the car back to Mumbai once the car is repaired by MG Bengaluru, on MG’s expenses.
MG took their time and only by 5:11 PM could they send it in writing that the expenses to get me to Mumbai would be reimbursed. Obviously, their email body was generic and didn’t contain the specific line items requested by me. However, I had spent more than 6h at the charger, being on call with MG continuously and was completely exhausted.
Meanwhile, I had to follow up with MG to also get the status of the towing vehicle. At 2PM, I was told by MG that the tow truck will be arranged and it will be on site by 3PM. It sounded fair and all I had to do was wait. 3PM came by, and there was no sign of a tow truck. I was dreading calling up MG again, because every time you call them, you have to explain your case to them again and all they say is that someone from their team will give you a call from the same call centre. MG should really invest in a better call centre CRM so that the calls are redirected to the same individual handling the case, instead of treating each call as a separate fresh enquiry. Terrible experience!
Mannat from MG called back and again promised that the tow truck is only “10-15 mins away”. Mannat wasn’t willing to share the phone number of the tow truck guy, nor could she share the live location, so that I could track the truck. I had to literally call up MG multiple times, and only then the tow truck guy called me around 3:30 PM saying that he is still “10-15 mins away”. He asked me to share my live location, so that he could share his, but he never did.
MG, however, was kind enough to organise a local help called “custodian”. The custodian’s job is to take the custody of the car on behalf of MG and then get the car loaded on the towing van. My custodian, Farhan, was a young, helpful and resourceful guy. He took on the task of following up with the towing van and spoke with them in Kannada. The tow truck finally arrived by 5PM and my car was loaded on it without any hiccups. They made me sign a couple of papers, and I unloaded all my luggage and stored it in the cabin of the watchman at the Tata Motors showroom.
The custodian’s job is over once the car is loaded on the tow truck. However, Farhan decided to stay back and help me sort out my stay and the cab. I got Mannat to call me, and she wanted some more time to confirm with her “superiors” about reimbursements. I was adamant and I had vowed to not hang up the call till the time I got it in writing so that I could start booking my tatkal train ticket and the hotel room. The call lasted for over 50 mins, but I did get the email.
I spent the middle of the afternoon charging my phone in the security guard’s cabin. The network was not that great, (another reason why Tata should just come up with RFID already), so I would always have to step out of the guard’s cabin and take the call. Thankfully the rains had just stopped, so it was relatively easy to do so.
While my car was being towed, a Mr. Rawat from Mumbai, showed up in his Tigor to charge the car. I explained to him my issue and why my car is getting towed. It was eventually his decision to charge his car at this charger (or not). He went and spoke with the Tata Motors’ service personnel and they assured him that they were there to support him. He initiated charging and his car started charging. That left me dumbfounded, but I was happy for him. While he was charging, another Nexon showed up. They too heard my story and decided to charge. They too could charge. That made me realise that the charger wasn’t at fault, it was the car.
My cab eventually arrived by 6:30 - 6:45 PM and I got dropped off at a nearby hotel only by 7:15PM. I took the train the next day and reached Mumbai safely by Tuesday - 30th August 2022. It had been a very hectic Sunday for me. The car reached Bengaluru on Monday, 29th August 2022. By Monday evening, the car had been ‘repaired’ and the technician was on a test drive. They called to tell me that the car is ready to be collected. I had to remind them that the car is to be delivered by MG and not to be collected by me.
I asked the technician as to how they solved the problem. They said that they resetted the software flag and it started working. This was great, however, I wanted to understand why this problem occurred and how I can avoid it in the future. And, if this problem happens again, then how can it be solved.
They told me that the auxiliary battery was discharged to 12.1V and that is why the car threw up that error. This was flat out incorrect because I had measured its voltage at 12.86V. When I tried to tell them this, they ignored it and kept saying that they are drawing conclusions from the data they have in front of them.
I asked them if they had a log of the battery voltage at around the time the incident happened. They said they didn’t. Ok. I went to first principles to explain my PoV. The car was charged at a charger. The car ran for 200kms pretty much continuously and reached the Tata power charger. When the car is in motion, the auxiliary battery is charged by the high voltage battery. So the auxiliary battery was fully charged by the time I stopped to charge my car. They didn’t have an explanation as to why the auxiliary battery could suddenly discharge to 12.1V.
It took MG 5 days (Friday, 2nd Sept 2022) to reach out to me with a reasonably correct explanation as to what went wrong with the car. I don’t have a way to verify whether it is correct or not, but that’s the only thing I have with me. In the meanwhile, I had to keep calling MG everyday and explain the issue. MG personnel from Bengaluru and Mumbai wouldn’t return my calls, so I had no way to get answers, with my car being stuck in Bengaluru.
The Why and the How
The EV technician, Mr. Ram, based out of MG Mumbai, explained to me that the car went into safe mode. When the charger was connected to the car, the charger probably gave an upper and lower bound of voltage that it could supply, which was beyond the extremities of what MG could take. So the vehicle decided to not accept charging and go into safe mode (probably because I tried it at least a couple of times at the charger).
He suggested that the best way to resolve this issue is to let the car go into extreme sleep mode. Extreme sleep mode is triggered when the key fob is atleast 5-6m away from the car, i.e. not in the vicinity. Additionally, one shouldn’t be using the MG iSmart app, because that will wake up the auxiliary battery circuit in the car. The car has to be locked by the keyfob only and not via the app. Keeping the car in this state for at least 30-45 mins will kick off the sleep mode. There is no way of knowing whether the car has entered into sleep mode or not. However, once done, in 90-95% of the cases the car can be charged again and the error goes away.
From providing a reasonable explanation on 2nd Sept, it still took MG 4 days to arrange a driver to drive the car back to Mumbai. Granted that Bengaluru was flooded and there was a weekend in the middle. But time and again, MG Bengaluru promised me that they will get back to me in a couple of hours or so and share the driver’s details, which obviously didn’t happen.
At this point, because I still didn’t have my car with me, unforeseen daily expenses were being incurred. And all my reimbursements from MG were still pending, adding to my frustration.
The driver’s drive back
On 6th Sept 2022, while I was conversing with MG over email, asking them to dispatch my car from Bengaluru, I got an alert saying that my car was overspeeding. (MG sends an alert to the registered number whenever the car travels at more than 80 kmph). I had not been informed that the car would leave MG's workshop on the 6th. I was told by MG Bengaluru that their manager will be reaching out to me to share the driver’s contact details. I had assumed that by the time these details didn’t reach me, the car wouldn obviously not leave from Bengaluru. Anyhow, I reached out to MG asking if the driver did really leave with the car. MG confirmed that their driver was driving the vehicle back to Mumbai.
Normally, when such a situation of delivery occurs, MG gets a clarification in writing from the car owner that the driver will be driving on the car’s existing insurance and it is not the liability of the company in case anything happens along the route. I strongly feel against this policy, but the company wouldn’t budge till I complied. As a precautionary measure, I asked MG to ensure that the driver shouldn’t speed the vehicle.
However, the driver wasn’t informed or trained properly by MG. He drove the car at the max speed of 128kmph, and for almost 100kms he was above 80kmph. It isn’t their car, and I don’t get why someone would want to drive someone else’s car over the speed limit, despite being given basic instructions (unless they weren’t). And it isn’t just about the car, it is also about the driver’s safety. It took me more than 2 hours and multiple calls to get MG to take action and reach out to the driver to drive the car safely. It involved calling MG continuously and sending them emails with screenshots of the speed alarms.
The driver had left from Bengaluru at around 1:40pm on 6th September. A regular drive from Bengaluru to Bombay would consist of 3 fast charging sessions and a single overnight halt. MG Bengaluru committed to me that the car would reach me in 48h, which totally made sense. I was ok with the whole idea. However, given the events that followed, my confidence shrunk.
The car eventually stopped in Davanagere at around 8:30 pm. When I closely observed the drive log, I realised that the driver had been shuttling around in Davanagere, after going past the Tata Motors Adishakti charger. This could mean one of the four things :
MG’s in-car navigation system couldn’t point to the Tata’s charger
or MG Bengaluru didn’t inform the driver of the charging location
or the driver wasn’t trained on how to use the fast charger without external help
or the charger was not working.
I don’t know which of the above is really true. I spoke with MG Yelahanka’s Mr. Chethan (on 8th Sept) and he mentioned that he had given all the information to the driver. I didn’t trust what he was saying because he didn’t pick up any of my calls from 5th Sept 2022 till 8th Sept 2022. MG Yelahanka also said that the driver is given a “free hand” to make as many expenses as needed to get the car safely to the customer. However, it is really dumb of MG to assume that the driver will know how to download Tata Power’s EZ Charge app, load up wallet and then initiate charging. You don’t really need the app with the car, and someone from MG Yelahanka could’ve coordinated and initiated charging at the charger once the driver was at the fast charger. But alas.
Once I had sent the emails of overspeeding, I got busy with my work and observed only later that the driver was in Davanagere till late at night. He had 5-6% range and hadn’t fast charged. All he did was get some slow charging done at a 15A plug and he didn’t keep the car for charging overnight either. I found this behaviour extremely odd. However, given that there were still more than 30h for them to deliver, I thought it was all ok and still under control. It is possible that the driver would’ve taken a good long sleep and would cover the rest of the distance in one go.
The originally committed delivery date came by - 8th September 2022, and I checked early in the morning, assuming the car would’ve moved out of Davanagere. It surely did, but was only at Hubbali and with a low state of charge, and yet again, not charging. Obviously there had been a couple of other trips that the driver took in the city which didn’t co-relate to any publicly available charger locations or MG’s showrooms. The last update I had was at 9:11 am, 8th Sept 2022 and then MG’s iSmart (the car app) stopped working. The expected car delivery window just had a few hours left, but the car was loitering around in Karnataka, always on a low state of charge, with not much progress to show for and just plenty of trips inside the cities.
MG Yelahanka and their service personnel
While the car was overspeeding, I tried to reach out to my PoC - Ms. Ramya. She didn’t pick up my calls. I was also told to contact MG Yelahanka’s Mr. Chethan. He too didn’t pick up my calls. I had to call MG Yelahanka’s reception number to try and get in touch with Ms. Ramya. However, whenever they’d hear my name asking for Ms. Ramya, I was being told that she’s gone for a test drive, keeping her phone behind in the office and will give me a call when she returns and will reply to my emails. This was frustrating to deal with, because there was no one available from MG’s end to reach out to the driver to caution him to drive slowly.
Given this background, I was not surprised when anyone from MG Yelahanka was not able to pick up my calls, neither Ms. Ramya, nor the manager Mr. Chethan, nor the receptionist Ms. Pooja. Ms. Ramya and Ms. Pooja were kind enough to at least switch off their phones when I tried calling them the 3rd or the 4th time, acknowledging that they are no longer interested in talking to me. Mr. Chethan, too, didn’t care about the customer but kept my calls ringing.
From my PoV, while the car delivery window had a couple of hours left, as per MG’s commitment, there was no update on the car (because iSmart car app was down for 2 days for many ZS EV and MG Hector owners) and no one from MG was coordinating with me. I tried calling the central customer care and I was told that I’ll get the update whenever they have some. I was asked by them to wait for 24h to get an update. I didn’t have that kind of time and am really surprised as to why the customer care isn’t briefed with what is happening with the customers.
I had to take this to an extreme level. I called up a cop friend and asked if I could file an FIR against MG for “stealing” my car. MG had committed to a 48 hour window, however their driver was loitering around in Karnataka (up until hour 46) and I didn’t have any live updates about the car. My friend called up MG Yelahanka’s Ms. Pooja. On giving the context, Ms. Pooja was trying to convince the cop that I am the one who is lying about getting the car in 48hours (note: I had email proof of this), that I am worrying unnecessarily and the car will be delivered to me as per the timeline committed. If anyone could be awarded for being delusional, she would’ve definitely gotten the award. The cop tried to reason with her as to why MG was not keeping me updated about the location of the car. She said that she will reach out to the driver and get back to me. Shortly after that call, I got an email from MG Bengaluru saying that
Your Vehicle is in the Hubli charging station and the Estimated arrival time to the destination is on 10-09-2022 Saturday evening Or 11-09-2022 Sunday.
As per your instructions our chauffeur is maintaining the speed of 60 to 80 kms/hr and since he is driving on the highway he cannot answer the calls in the middle of driving due to safety.
Absolutely no explanation was given to me about the delay and instead I was being blamed for it because the driver had to maintain the speed limit. This really riled me up. I wanted to get answers and apologies for this kind of behaviour. MG hadn’t reached out to me about my pending reimbursements, for which I had already submitted my bills to MG Mumbai. Given their overall nature, I knew I would have to press matters if they were to actually deliver.
I called the central customer care number again, had to cut short the executive and asked them to just listen to what I had to say. I broke down everything that happened, pointed out that customer care is clearly not serious about solving customer problems and nor is anyone at their service centre interested. I asked them to connect me with a senior advisor who could possibly take some action on this and get me the updates. The executive, surprise surprise, requested me to be patient and expect a call from someone in MG's team in the next hour or so. I had given up hope and didn’t trust anyone’s timelines from MG.
However, in an hour and a half or so, Ms Kimi from MG’s customer centre called. My first question was whether she was briefed on the case or not. She said that she was and wanted to talk to me, to understand what actions need to be taken. I told her that I need to be put in a conference call with Ms. Ramya and whoever can answer my questions. Ms. Kimi asked if she could put me on hold for a few mins while she tried reaching out to Ms. Ramya. She wasn’t able to connect with Ms Ramya. She then tried reaching out to Chethan, and he too was not reachable. She tried reaching out to them more than once, and they weren’t reachable. After experiencing what I had earlier, she said that she will figure out who can answer my questions and will get on a call as quickly as possible.
I had no option but to trust her. Soon enough, I got a call from Ms. Sunitha (Bengaluru regional head ASM), Mr. Navjot from MG Head office along with, surprise surprise, Ms. Ramya and Mr. Chethan. The call lasted for more than 45 mins. It was a shitshow. The executives would lie their way through it when they were asked something by the HO / Ms. Sunitha, with me correcting what they were saying. It was a very stressful experience.
Mr. Chethan, here claimed, that he had given all the charging station information to the driver. When I asked him if he had the app to start the charging session, he had no answers. In order to impress how quickly they responded to my overspeeding query, Ms. Ramya claimed that she got in touch with the driver within 15 mins of my first email and asked the driver to slow down the car. She had no answer to why I was getting speeding alerts more than 3h after the first one. Even Navjot and Sunitha didn’t have any answers and would just end up berating Ms. Ramya and Mr. Chethan. None of them could answer why a car with a range of 400 kms would take 5 days to cover 1000kms. It eventually came down to all of them apologising and promising plenty of things. Among the things that were promised by all 4 of them - driver would not speed, I’d get regular updates when the car would stop, I’ll get a reimbursement settlement by lunchtime on 9th Sept 2022.
I was mentally drained out after the call and regretted buying an MG ZS EV. I hope no one ever has to go through this.
I did start getting regular updates from the MG team saying that the driver has reached Kolhapur / Karad etc etc. However, my app was still not working, so I couldn’t get the updates whether the driver was speeding or not. By late evening, I was informed that the driver had reached Pune and would be staying overnight at Pune. The car would be delivered on the 9th itself, the day after the call. Under promising and over delivering, a little too late, was still welcome.
I got a call at around midnight on 10th Sept 2022 from the driver. The driver was asking me to recharge the fast tag, so that he wouldn’t have to pay the toll charges in cash. He was already at the Pune Mumbai Expressway and wanted money. This was nowhere close to what we had discussed and MG was the one responsible to bear all expenses. I sent an email to the team and never got a response.
Early in the morning, I got multiple calls at 0600, 0630, 0700, 0730. The calls were from the driver. The app had started working again and I could see that the driver was at MG Mumbai. I sent out an email to the team again. I spoke with the driver and all he had to say was that he has delivered the car and I can come and collect it. I told him to ask someone from MG Bengaluru to call me. Ms Ramya, sure enough, called me at around 0930 saying that the car was delivered. I asked her to check her emails and get back to me. Ofcourse, she never got back to me.
The car had to be given to the body shop for some work. I wasn’t keen on accepting the delivery of the vehicle till they settled my bills and gave an explanation as to what was happening. It turns out that MG Mumbai is responsible (my dealer) for the settlement and MG Bengaluru for the driver etc.
I called up Ms. Kimi again and asked her to connect me with Ms. Ramya. She connected us. All Ms. Ramya said was to leave her alone and there was nothing she could do about the driver’s behaviour and about the reimbursement. Ms. Kimi asked for some time till Monday, ie 12th Sept 2022 to get back to me about the reimbursements.
I went and visited the workshop. The car wasn’t in its pristine condition. There could’ve been some scratches that were not accounted for, but again, it was my responsibility to have taken all kinds of photographs before handing over the car to MG’s towing service. There were so many people involved in the middle, the towing van, the technicians at MG, the driver, that everyone could deny and you could still do nothing about it.
MG Mumbai’s executives have been kinder to me. They’ve picked up my calls at least. As long as they are communicating, there’s an inclination to trust them.
The driver was at the showroom and I asked him about Davanagere. All he said was that he could never find the charger, then changed to saying that the charger was not working. When I asked him which TATA dealer had the charger, he didn’t know. He was clearly lying and probably was not informed by Mr. Chethan.
As of 16th Sept 2022, I was still waiting for MG to process my reimbursement bills.
Other “Vehicle Control Systems Fault”
On 8th Sept 2022, I reached out to a bunch of communities that I am a part of, and also broadcasted a message on Twitter. I found out at least 5 other people, 3 based out of Hyderabad and 2 out of Bengaluru had experienced the same dreaded fault. I got to know that in most cases, all MG did was to reset the software flag and the vehicle was ready. They’ve sent in their documentation and you can click here to read it. They too didn’t have a great experience with RSA and some were stuck with their families while on a road trip.
There are multiple examples of people in the UK and Australia getting the same issue which is documented on MG ZS EV’s forum.
Luckily for me, unluckily for Mr. Vishnu, their car in Hyderabad had the VCS fault just the night I put out a call on Twitter, when they were at their office in Hyderabad. They went home and had scheduled a towing vehicle in the morning. Their car had way more warnings than just the VCS fault. However, the VCS went away in the morning when they started their car.
Their car was towed to the service centre. The warning came back after a few days, while being mostly stationary (assumption) at the service centre.
If you read the error carefully, it says to park the car safely. While debugging this on call with the MG technician, they too asked me if this error happened while I was driving or when I was parked. Ergo, this error can happen even when you are driving, which makes absolutely no sense. This is pretty hazardous and unsafe in my opinion.
I believe that MG needs to first give us a good explanation as to why this has happened, give us a software or a hardware fix, to ensure that the car can be taken on long roadtrips without fear of being locked out. It is also pretty clear that there is a significant knowledge gap among the MG’s EV technicians. Their service differs from service centre to service centre and across cities. There is no standard guideline for RSA and it depends on how much the customer can bargain.
Feedback to MG :
Treat customers with respect.
Prioritise bug solving raised by early adopters of EVs. Keep them in loop as to what is happening. Even if there’s no update, inform the customer that there is no update.
Train your service people to handle EVs. They sorely lack this information and MG is reliant on a handful of people. I cannot stress how important this is. Non trained folks will be unable to guide the chauffeur what to do with the car on long journeys. Non-trained folks will not be able to answer customer’s queries satisfactorily. Thereby resulting in a poor experience and poorer brand building for MG.
Fix your customer care.
It is extremely frustrating to remember the name of the executive you were talking to, when you are in a stressful situation.
It is irritating to explain the situation time and again to a new executive everytime.
When a customer calls the customer care, and if a case is open, please redirect the call to the same executive.
Please stop having “no-reply” email addresses. There’s enough tech in the world to allow the customer to reach out to you in any way possible and have the information stored in a single universe.
Do not, I repeat, do not close the file because the customer didn’t pick up your call the two times you tried within a span of a couple of minutes. People are busy and are not always available to pick up your call and talk to you. This is downright insensitive. Give them time. Don’t pressurise your support staff or focus too much on metrics to evaluate them. In every interaction with MG, I’ve been asked to give a rating. I do not think that this is healthy.
Provide access to the customers to the call recordings if you don’t want to send us the details that we’ve demanded MG give us in writing. (Yes, I know I can record calls too, but why should I be doing this, if MG has no issues in fulfilling what they are promising? And yes, why would they accept my ‘recording’ as proof?)
RSA and customer support staff are apparently different teams. It doesn’t matter to the end customer if they are different or separate teams. For us, it is one MG.
In case a customer is in a situation like me, wherein they have to coordinate with more than one MG entity, appoint a SPoC from your end. (Single Point of Contact). It shouldn’t be my responsibility to talk to different factions of the company wherein one faction blames the other and vice versa. I am not here to resolve your internal problems. (In my case MG Bengaluru was insistent that I should come and pick up the vehicle, whereas the RSA promised otherwise, after consulting with MG Mumbai). The SPoC should know the case in and out. I had to make Ms. Mannat my SPoC and later Ms. Kimi.
It is still not clear as to why “Vehicle Control Systems Fault” occurs. Based on learnings from others, the fault can occur anytime, whether you are at a charger or not. MG needs to be more clear in their communication and not treat customers as non technical. The community is tightly knit and discusses most issues. Given that many issues can cause this error, it is important for MG to classify what is giving the error and how can the customer solve it, without having their vehicle towed. Given that in most cases, all MG does is to remove the software flag via the technician’s computer, MG can very well allow this to be done remotely via their executives, given that MG cars have “Internet Inside”.
Learnings about the MG incident :
Keep calm and trust your gut.
Always get everything in writing from the service centre, despite whatever promises they make on ‘recorded’ lines. The recorded lines are not accessible to you, but only to them. They’ll hesitate to give it in writing and ask you to trust them, but trust no one.
Try out some of the solutions that may or may not work. Ofcourse, do this under someone’s supervision unless you know what you are doing.
India is a huge country and getting RSA support in remote parts of the country can be difficult. However, I still had to spend 7h at the charger to set things in motion and move on with my day. And I was in a town which is just 100kms away from two major cities.
Insist on understanding why the issue happened and how you can avoid it in the future. Because the warranty by MG is only for 5 years. You’ll be expected to pay for the RSA (unless covered by insurance, still possibly resulting in higher premiums for you if availed) if this happens after 5 years.
The error code on MG’s instrument cluster asked me to park the vehicle safely. Meaning this error could also happen while I am driving the car. This was doubly verified by the RSA support team when upon mentioning the error, they immediately asked me if I am driving or whether the car is currently parked. I don’t know what would happen if the car wouldn’t go in Drive or Reverse mode when driving. That sounds dangerous, so MG needs to really issue a fix for the same.
You’ll be extremely lucky if you get a service centre that understands your concerns and is happy to help you. So try and choose your service centre wisely.
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Text, data and infographics - Priyans Murarka
Editing - Siddharth Agarwal
Visualisation - Sanika Desai
Priyans, your exeprience seems like the longest nightmare to me. But a good vauable information this is for MG EV owners.
Is it ok you can share contacts for MG People you interacted. I get my vehicle serviced in Bangalore, Yelahanka. Contacts others will help in future., I hope I don't wanna experience such issues and I hope HG will come with some fix to address this where it can be done remotely with help of RSA.
Thanks for sharing your experience Priyans. Can you pl share the communities you reached out during this ordeal as well. Will help us incase we face something similar. Have shared your experience with MG folks on social media as well. Hope they will work on your ideas & will smoothen experience of early adopters. Thanks