Expanding NZ’s EV charge network
The EV charging goal is to have a rapid charger every 75km along NZ's main State Highways, so that even a low-range vehicle can travel inter-city. It has taken four years but this is well on its way to reality. As of January 2019 there are 175 DC rapid charging stations across New Zealand, plus another 300+ AC slower destination charge points registered on the Plugshare website.
Visit AA's EV Charge Finder platform to find out where you can find your nearest charging station.
ANCAP crash tests
New ANCAP safety ratings are out – the Subaru Forester was awarded five stars, whilst the new Suzuki Jimny achieved three stars, due in part to its low scores in the VRU (vulnerable road user) and Safety Assist test segments.
MG entering the NZ market (again)
MG (SAIC motor) is trying to relaunch into the NZ market, with two small cars priced at the lower end of the small car market. The MG3 hatch and MG ZS small SUV will join the MG GS and will be available in NZ later on this year.
Tesla U-turn on store closures
It was initially reported that Tesla would close all of its stores globally and do all trading online as a way of reducing costs, but they have reconsidered their decision and are closing only half of its stores. It’s unknown if the closures will affect the only store in New Zealand which opened on Karangahape Road in Auckland last year.
Volvo continue to set the bar for safety
Volvo has announced that in the coming years it will be introducing new driver monitoring and intervention technology in an effort to reduce the impact of intoxicated driving. Using in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver, the will be able to bring the car to a safe stop if it senses erratic driving and failure to respond to warning prompts.
Personal Assistant in your car
We’ve had it on our smartphones for several years now, and earlier this year BMW released their all-new 3-Series, showcasing their ‘Hey BMW’ personal assistant. You can use your voice for example, to ask for the nearest fuel station, weather report, or tell your car that you feel tired which prompts a vitality programme which can adjust the mood lighting, music, and cabin temperature.
Toll price rise
Toll prices in NZ increased as of March 1, but not significantly, it’s easy to see where this money is going when looking at the roading infrastructure projects going on in particular in the Auckland region, which should help ease congestion and keep our roads safe.
EV adoption continues
EV registrations have now surpassed 12,700 in New Zealand, and 54 EV chargers have been installed in 24 NZ holiday parks to encourage EV use while holidaying. So far, a further 16 New World and Pak ‘n Save supermarket car parks received charge stations as an extra everyday shopping convenience. However, there’s still no word on NZ Government incentives for EV users.
New car launches
The all-new Ford Focus hatch and the Endura SUV landed in NZ and our Motoring expert Jacqui Madelin attended the launch drive day.
Toyota showcased their highly-anticipated, all-new Supra at motor shows around the world, some 17 years after they stopped producing the previous model. They’re also releasing a new version of their popular Hiace van, which will now come without a flat front.
Lexus have joined the urban crossover SUV club by releasing the ‘UX’, which is available with a new efficient petrol engine, or an even more efficient self-charging hybrid electric powertrain. We’ll be reviewing the UX later this month.
The new Jaguar I-Pace EV launched in NZ, and has received excellent reviews and positive comments from those lucky enough to experience one.
Keep up to date with the latest releases by visiting the Car Reviews section of our website.