Police trial new plug-in hybrid patrol cars – much sooner than expected

Skoda has rushed its new Superb iV plug-in hybrids to New Zealand, so Police can test-drive them this month with a view to swapping out the recently-acquired petrol-fuelled Superb stationwagons, above.

Supplied/Newsroom Skoda has rushed its new Superb iV plug-in hybrids to New Zealand, so Police can test-drive them this month with a view to swapping out the recently-acquired petrol-fuelled Superb stationwagons, above.

After robust criticism for ordering 3000 new Skoda petrol cars[1] to replace an ageing Holden fleet, the police will begin testing the European manufacturer’s new hybrid station wagons this month.

Skoda is shipping its first hybrid EVs into New Zealand this week, ready for immediate police testing.

It’s the start of a significant increase in the numbers of new hybrids and EVs entering the country, as carmakers capitalise on the Government’s new clean car discount of up to £8625[2]. Ports of Auckland will be busy unloading the cars in coming weeks.

Tesla has discounted its entry level Model 3 and is understood to be bringing in more than 1000 of them.

It has cut the price from £74,990 to £66,990 – and with the rebate, buyers will pay less than £60,000 plus on-road costs.

:
* Five things: the best Clean Car Discount deals
* Skoda details New Zealand-bound Superb iV plug-in hybrid
* NZ police select Skoda to supply new cop cars as Holden rolls into sunset
* Why do our police keep avoiding electric vehicles?
[3][4][5][6]

At the lower end of the market, MG is expected to ship in about 750 of its new ZS EVs, priced at £48,990 to threaten the dominance of the increasingly ubiquitous Nissan Leaf. With the rebate, the ZS EV just a tad above £40,000.

And Mitsubishi has kicked off an outdoor marketing campaign for its Eclipse Cross PHEV[7], highlighting the SUV’s eligibility for the rebate.

Mitsubishi has launched an outdoor marketing campaign for its Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrid, highlighting its eligibility for the Government's £5750 clean car rebate.

Newsroom Mitsubishi has launched an outdoor marketing campaign for its Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrid, highlighting its eligibility for the Government’s £5750 clean car rebate.

Skoda marketing manager Natalie O’Brien confirmed the firm was bringing its new Skoda Superb iV PHEVs into the country in time for a media launch next week.

The shipment of cars arrives as part of Skoda’s goal to increase electrified vehicle sales to 25 per cent by 2025, also dropping its fleet CO2 emissions by 30 per cent compared with 2015.

While O’Brien refused to confirm details, it’s understood one of the first cars off the boat will be loaded onto a truck and delivered to the NZ Police for testing.

The police department was criticised when it announced over summer that it was replacing its Holden Commodores with a fleet of 3000 new Skoda Superb station wagons, which at that point all ran on standard fuel.

But Commissioner Andrew Coster did say at the time police would trial new hybrid and electric technology when it became available.

At that stage, Skoda had not confirmed a launch date for its first hybrid – but last month it unveiled the Superb PHEV[8] and in a surprise move, has fast-tracked it into New Zealand this month. The unusually speedy delivery to this side of the world is thought to be linked to the police contract, and the resulting profile for the company’s brand here.

The new Superb PHEV has the same body as the petrol version, and will be equipped for police needs, including a gun locker in every vehicle – the sort of specification that other hybrid and EV manufacturer had struggled to meet.

The new Skoda Superb iV can both plug in to a power outlet, and fuel up at a petrol station.

Supplied/Newsroom The new Skoda Superb iV can both plug in to a power outlet, and fuel up at a petrol station.

“Police [have] been open about our discussions with Skoda and the desire to trial new technology including hybrid and electric vehicles,” a spokesperson said. “This month we will begin testing a Skoda PHEV vehicle to establish if it meets the requirements to trial in the police operational environment.”

Unlike full EVs, the PHEV has a strictly limited range when running on its battery.

Reviews say the plug-in Superb is rated at up to 62km on its 13kWh battery, but once the petrol kicks in it has a combined range of as much as 930km. Combined consumption is rated at 1.5L/100km and 14.0 to 14.5kWh/100km, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 33 to 35g/km.

“At Police we are looking for opportunities to reduce our vehicle fleet emissions while maintaining our operational requirements, continuing to keep communities safe and delivering the service New Zealanders expect and deserve,” the spokesperson said.

“We will continue to work with Skoda and other providers to discuss and advance any opportunities.”

It’s not just electric cars that are arriving in the country. Two companies – Genesis Energy and Carr & Haslam – announced this week they had purchased small Fuso eCanter electric trucks[9], with support from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicle Fund.

Carr & Haslam – one of three vehicle logistics companies that between them run more than 300 car transporter trucks – said it was actively exploring new energy solutions for its big trucks.

“This electric truck is a first for us” said director Chris Carr, “but it will not be the last.

Within 10 years, the heavy vehicle fleet will change, and we want to learn early, so that we can deliver the most from the new technologies coming our way.”

He told Newsroom it would take some time for the new technologies to upsize to 50-tonne truck and trailer units, and he expected hydrogen fuel cell technology was more likely than electric batteries to provide the workable solutions.

But already, he said, the company’s new Euro VI-accredited diesel trucks burned extraordinarily cleanly – to the point that he had once laid underneath one of them and inhaled the exhaust fumes.

Newsroom

References

  1. ^ robust criticism for ordering 3000 new Skoda petrol cars (www.stuff.co.nz)
  2. ^ Government’s new clean car discount of up to £8625 (www.stuff.co.nz)
  3. ^ Five things: the best Clean Car Discount deals (www.stuff.co.nz)
  4. ^ Skoda details New Zealand-bound Superb iV plug-in hybrid (www.stuff.co.nz)
  5. ^ NZ police select Skoda to supply new cop cars as Holden rolls into sunset (www.stuff.co.nz)
  6. ^ Why do our police keep avoiding electric vehicles? (www.stuff.co.nz)
  7. ^ Eclipse Cross PHEV (www.stuff.co.nz)
  8. ^ unveiled the Superb PHEV (www.stuff.co.nz)
  9. ^ they had purchased small Fuso eCanter electric trucks (www.stuff.co.nz)