Motoring News

Electric vehicles to share 2017 NZ Car of the Year spotlight

Electric vehicles have their own category for the first time in the 2017 New Zealand Car of the Year awards.

While EVs aren’t new to the New Zealand Car of the Year line up with the BMW i3 taking top honours in 2015, this year organisers have moved to create a new category to reflect the increasing numbers available and growing market interest.

AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says the time is right for the inclusion of an EV best in class category.

“We considered the inclusion of an EV category over the last two years, but the market wasn’t quite ready for it. Now more vehicles are becoming available from a variety of manufacturers which means competition is really starting to build.

“In 2017 the New Zealand Car of the Year provides the AA and the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild even more opportunity to showcase the best of the best in a range of categories.”

Ms Stocks says the AA is involved in the event as an extension of the advice service it provides to motorists.

“The New Zealand Car of the Year judges collectively have decades of experience assessing what makes a good car right across the categories. The results of the event can help car buyers make their choice both now and a few years from now when today’s new vehicles enter the second hand market.”

New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild President Robert Barry says the inclusion of an EV category is timely.

“It reflects not only the growing market but also that this technology is becoming a more affordable and reliable mobility solution for the New Zealand motorist,” says Mr Barry.

The New Zealand Car of the Year is in two parts. The Car of the Year award which is selected from a top 10 list of finalists chosen by a panel in October. To be eligible, the car must have been released in the New Zealand market between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017.

The Best in Class awards are selected from any new car on sale now in each category. This means a make and model released in previous years could beat out a newer car in its class. For example, the Ford Ranger was selected winner of the Best Utility class for the last five years.

The best in class categories are:

• Micro/light car
• Small/compact car
• Medium/large car
• Luxury car
• Small SUV
• Medium SUV
• Large SUV
• Luxury SUV
• Utility
• Sports
• Electric vehicle/plug-in hybrids

The safest car for 2017 will also be announced at the December 12 event based on Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test results.

The New Zealand Car of the Year People’s Choice award will also be announced on December 12. From November 1, the public will have a chance to vote for one of the top 10 finalists on the AA’s website and earn a chance to win a 9-day Pacific islands cruise for two.

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