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New Zealand charges ahead

There were 407 electric vehicles (EVs) registered last month, a huge 96.6 per cent increase compared to January 2017, when a mere 207 vehicles were registered.

This brings the current overall total of EVs in New Zealand to 6,603. 

So how do these figures compare to other countries? 

According to Chargemaster, Europeans charged ahead with plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) purchases, purchasing 80,000 more than they did in 2016.

With sales almost perfectly split between the two types, BEV’s are proving just as popular as their longer range cousins, with 287,270 vehicles being brought in 2017.

Across the European Union population of 508 million, this is a per capita ratio of 0.0565 per cent of the total population.
New Zealanders in comparison brought 4,055 EVs in 2017 against a population of 4.7 million, or 0.086 per cent of the total population. 

Therefore, New Zealanders are buying EVs, per head of population, 1.5 times faster than Europeans.

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Infected car carrier heads to Australia

Mitsui Osk Line’s (MOL) have announced a plan to deal with the current biosecurity risk posed by a large quantity of stinkbugs found on board their cargo ship, the Courageous Ace. 

On Friday, MOL spokesman Yaro Nikitin said in an email to customers that live Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSBs) were discovered on board the vessel on February 6. 

The vessel was then treated as per the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) direction the following day but an MPI inspection on February 8 “revealed a significantly large quantity of alive BMSBs”.          

“Due to the biosecurity risk that the vessel poses to the New Zealand economy, MPI have directed us to re-load all import cargo onto the vessel and undertake treatment offshore,” said MOL spokesman, Yaro Nikitin.

An MOL spokesman spoken to by Autofile on Friday said MOL and MPI were looking into further options to ensure the bugs are fumigated before the ship can return to the Ports of Auckland.  

At present, the Courageous Ace is drifting off New Zealand, however a plan has been revealed for the vessel to head to Australia to carry out the fumigation process.  

Once MOL have finalised a port in Australia and the required fumigation process has been completed, the Courageous Ace is expected to return to Auckland in approximately 10-12 days.


The Courageous ace – an MOL car carrier

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Stink bug found on car carrier

 A serious biosecurity risk has forced Mitsui Osk Line (MOL) cargo ship, the Courageous Ace, to reload its car shipment and head back out to sea.

A brown marmorated stink bug

 The ship is now drifting off Auckland’s coast as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and MOL work together to clear the ship and its cargo of the bugs which could decimate New Zealand’s crops if the insect was to enter the country.

 MOL spokesman Yaro Nikitin says in an email to customers that live Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSBs) were discovered on board the vessel on February 6.

 “It is with deepest regret and apologies that we would like to advise you of the following circumstances surrounding the Courageous Ace V.121A,” Nikitin says.

“MPI suspended operations and issued a direction to treat the vessel’s cargo holds with fogging agent,” he says.

The vessel was treated as per the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) direction the following day but an MPI inspection on February 8 “revealed a significantly large quantity of alive BMSBs”.          

“Due to the biosecurity risk that the vessel poses to the New Zealand economy, MPI have directed us to re-load all import cargo onto the vessel and undertake treatment offshore, Nikitin says.

An MOL spokesman spoken to by Autofile says MOL and MPI are looking into further options to ensure the bugs are fumigated before the ship can return to the Ports of Auckland. However, he wouldn’t say what the options were but that it didn’t include the ship returning to its port of origin.

MPI says stink bugs are hard to see, hard to kill, travel far and they breed fast. The bugs feed heavily on a wide variety of plant species and would attack grapes, kiwifruit, apples, citrus and stone fruit, corn and many other valuable crops. Adults are about the size of a $1 coin with white banding on the antennae, alternate black and white markings on the abdomen, its eggs are light green, barrel shaped, and found in clusters of 20-30.

MPI have advised that although the BMSB is found in China, Japan and now USA and Italy, the cause of the large quantity of the insects noted on the vessel is undetermined. 

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ESC rules for vans and mini buses

Clarification of rules for MB and MD classes
Reminder: all used MA vehicles (passenger cars) with engine capacity greater than 2 litres, border-checked on or after 1 March, will be required to have ESC as OEM equipment. 
To clarify the status of van-type vehicles equipped with seats (e.g. Toyota Hiace), MB Class vehicles do not require ESC until 1 March 2020.The definition of an MB Class vehicle is as follows:

MB (Forward control
passenger vehicle)
A passenger vehicle (other than a Class MC vehicle):
(a) that has not more than nine seating positions
(including the driver’s seating position); and
(b) in which the centre of the steering wheel is in the
forward quarter of the vehicle’s total length

A van-type vehicle with 10 seats falls into the MD Class, which is not required to have ESC. MD Class is defined as:

MD 1 An omnibus that has a gross vehicle mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes and not more than 12 seating positions

Please note: Due to their design, van-type vehicles (like the Toyota Hiace) can only be classified as a Class NA or MB, and therefore never classed as MA.

For any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email technical@via.org.nz.


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All-new Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Motor has released a first teaser image of its first fully-electric SUV ahead of the official unveiling, on 27 February.

Hyundai Motor will be the first automotive brand across Europe to make an all-electric compact SUV available to everyone, coming to the market in mid-2018.

The All-New Kona Electric will feature two different powertrain versions offering customers one of the most powerful electric engines on the market with a class leading range of almost 470 kilometres (internal target under WLTP regulations) and a great fun-to-drive character.

Further details will be disclosed on 27 February, ahead of the car’s world premiere at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

The All-New Kona Electric

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Low vehicle prices offset petrol hikes

Prices rose 0.1 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Higher petrol prices, air fares, and housing-related costs were countered by lower prices for new cars, and a range of household goods.

New car prices were down 6.2 per cent for the December quarter. 

The relatively flat result this quarter leaves the consumers price index (CPI) inflation rate at 1.6 percent for the December 2017 year. Inflation was 1.9 percent for the September 2017 year.

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households and is a key measure for the Reserve Bank in setting interest rates and is commonly used in adjusting pay rates and other contracts.

Quarterly change

In the December 2017 quarter compared with the September 2017 quarter, the CPI rose 0.1 percent (up 0.4 percent with seasonal adjustment).

Purchase of vehicles fell 2.1 per cent for the quarter due to new car prices, down 6.2 per cent. However, second-hand vehicles were up 0.8 per cent.

Food prices fell 1.7 percent in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by seasonally lower vegetable prices, down 19 per cent.

“Retail prices fell by more than usual in the December 2017 quarter, contributing to lower inflation than widely expected,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“Changing retail pricing strategies have led to lower prices for a range of household items, while specials drove new car prices down 6.2 per cent.”

Lower prices for vehicles were countered by higher prices for passenger transport services, which rose 9.2 per cent. Private transport supplies and services prices rose 4.1 percent, with petrol prices up 6.1 percent.

“Petrol prices were up in the December quarter, following two quarters of falls,” Attewell said. “Rising oil prices and a falling exchange rate pushed prices up sharply between July and November this year. The average price for 91 octane petrol hit $1.94 in the December 2017 quarter, up from $1.83 in the September 2017 quarter.”

Annual change

From the December 2016 quarter to the December 2017 quarter. The CPI inflation rate was up 1.6 per cent.

Purchase of vehicles decreased 2.0 per cent, influenced by lower prices of new vehicles, down 6.7 per cent. 

However, this was covered by higher prices for petrol and cigarettes. Private transport supplies and services prices increased by 4.6 per cent as petrol prices rose by 6.5 per cent. Cigarettes and tobacco prices also increased 9.9 per cent.

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New autoliner route direct to NZ

Automakers will have another shipping option from the United States to New Zealand and Australia when Hoeegh Autoliners begins offering a monthly direct service from the Port of Baltimore in March. 

The impetus for the new route is a new contract with a ‘Detroit three’ automaker (General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler), Shane Warren, head of the Americas region, told Automotive News.

He declined to identify the customer.

Car manufacturing in Australia ended last year when General Motors (GM) closed its Holden operations in South Australia. Toyota Motor Corp. closed its operations in neighbouring Victoria and Ford terminated production at two plants in Victoria the previous year.

Currently Hoeegh requires going through ports in Europe, where vehicles are transferred to another vessel, however the new monthly service will have faster transit times and require less handling, which minimises the potential for damage.

“Time to market is important for the customer,” Warren said.

Hoeegh’s service puts it in direct competition with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, who also offers direct ocean service to the Australia and New Zealand region from the U.S. 

The Hoeegh vessels will originate in Europe and discharge vehicles in Baltimore before being loaded with exports from the unnamed customer.

Vessels also will stop in Jacksonville, Fla., another major auto port, before heading through the Panama Canal to the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, where vehicles produced by the Detroit 3 car company also will be loaded.

The rotation will continue through the ports of Auckland, Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle.

Höegh Autoliners


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KPMG’s latest report on AVs

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are set to revolutionise not only transportation but the way people both live and work.

KPMG’s 2018 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) provides an in-depth view of what it takes for countries to meet the challenges of self-driving cars and which countries are most prepared for their arrival.

The Index evaluates each country according to four pillars that are integral to a country’s capacity to adopt and integrate AVs. These include: policy & legislation; technology & innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance.

Is New Zealand ready for an AV-driven future?

On policy and legislation, New Zealand received a score of 7.92 out of 10, putting them ahead of the Netherlands, in second place. The high score was due to New Zealand’s coherent AV regulation and also having a dedicated department to deal with AV regulation.

New Zealand legislation does not explicitly require a vehicle to have a driver present for the car to be used on the road, which allows the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to provide support to those undertaking AV testing.

New Zealand is also collaborating with Australia to minimise duplication and share knowledge on AVs. The collaboration demonstrates how countries can pool resources to develop and improve autonomous vehicles.  New Zealand is also known for its particularly transparent regulatory framework; the World Economic Forum rated New Zealand highly for law-making and legal efficiency.

“New Zealand is affluent and large enough to support meaningful product trials, but small enough to prevent teething troubles damaging the reputation of a technology or company. Microsoft, Facebook and drone delivery company Flirtey have used it as a development lab. Christchurch has hosted the world’s first fully AV trial at an international airport,” says Jesse Phillips Director, Deal Advisory KPMG in New Zealand.

The country was ranked fifth in terms of consumer acceptance due to good rating from KPMG’ Change Readiness Index, as well as having AV testing in areas of high population density. It also offers a wide range of climatic conditions within a relatively small area.

New Zealand however scores less well on technology and innovation. KPMG’s research found there were no AV company headquarters, patents or major investments in the AV field, even though New Zealand has the third-highest market share of electric cars.

On infrastructure, New Zealand has landed in the bottom five due to low levels of 4G coverage outside of heavily populated areas, few charging stations and middling rating for road quality and road infrastructure.

How well did other countries do?

The Netherlands is the clear leader, it ranked within the top four of each of the four pillars and ranked number one on infrastructure. Netherlands has by far the highest density of electrical vehicle charging points, with 26,789 publicly-available points in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook.

“The Dutch ecosystem for AVs is ready. The intensively-used Dutch roads are very well developed and maintained and other indicators like telecoms infrastructure are also very strong. In addition, the Dutch government Ministry of Infrastructure has opened the public roads to largescale tests with self-driving passenger cars and lorries,” says Stijn de Groen, Manager, Digital Advisory KPMG in the Netherlands.

Australia was ranked reasonably well on the index. Several cities are hosting AV trials however, improvements to roads and electric charging infrastructure would help with its AV readiness.

Road transport relies on the quality of road infrastructure as well as the regulatory environment that determine access to that infrastructure. Poor showings on infrastructure undermines the ambitions of New Zealand.

The Netherlands leads this index because it performs strongly across all four pillars of research, showing how both its private and public sectors are highly engaged.


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Chch woman awarded $28,000

A Christchurch woman has been awarded $28,000 after the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal found defects in her Audi A6 had been concealed.

The Tribunal ruling stated that the latent defects in Joanna Fisher’s Audi A6 were deliberately covered up.

The defects were discovered during a warrant of fitness check in 2017, a year after Fisher purchased the vehicle from Chris Bird Motor Company.

The tribunal accepted that the car company’s managing director, Chris Bird, was not aware of the defects when Fisher purchased the vehicle.

Archibalds, another Christchurch motor company, discovered a “sophisticated” cover up of faults when carrying out the warrant of fitness.

Archibalds’ technician found the seat belt pre-tensioners were not plugged in and the two front airbags also had altered wiring.

“The vehicle’s wiring had been altered to mask these faults,” the tribunal stated.

“The altered wiring was, according to Archibalds, ‘tricking the airbag system into registering that it was functioning correctly”, the tribunal found.

“This meant the warning light on the dashboard identifying a problem with the airbags was suppressed.”

Chris Bird then complained to the New Zeaalnd Transport Agency (NZTA) because the vehicle has been issued with two warrants of fitness prior to Fisher purchased the vehicle.

“The tribunal’s assessor … observed that if this test had been done properly when the vehicle was inspected on entry into New Zealand, then the defect would have been picked up.

“The NZTA report suggests that if the seatbelt defect was discovered then it is probable the airbag issues would also have been found at the same time. The NZTA report concluded that neither of the earlier warrants of fitness should have been issued for the vehicle.”

The tribunal accepted Bird’s evidence he had been unaware of the defective seatbelts and airbags. 

Fisher was entitled to reject the Audi and to a refund of $24,979. She was also entitled to a refund of Archibalds’ invoice for $3279. 

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Jucy’s electric campervans

Thousands of international tourists visiting NZ could be driving electric campervans within two years following a new electric vehicle (EV) trial.

Two French eco tourists will take part in a trial which will see them travelling thousands of kilometres throughout the North Island in a prototype Jucy campervan powered only by electricity.

The objective of the trial is to help convert one of the country’s largest rental campervan fleets to electric power within the next two years – something the company’s owner says will help position NZ as a sustainable tourist market.

Jucy CEO, Tim Alpe says the company aims to introduce a new category of electric vehicle to its fleet to meet growing demand from millennial tourists.

“Electric vehicles are the future of the Jucy campervan fleet and this trial is the ideal platform to test our product offering for customers,

“This market segment in particular want more environmentally sustainable travel options, at the same time this gives our tourists more choice and cheaper running costs,” says Alpe.

Paris Sorbonne University environmental law student Heloise de Bokay says tourism is becoming less sustainable which is why they wanted a more eco friendly mode of transport to explore NZ.

“Electric cars are a more sensible solution in your country as more than 80 percent of your energy comes from renewable sources – compared to only 22 percent in France,” she says.

Alpe says further expansion of the programme will need additional investment in charging infrastructure and vehicles that can travel further distances.

Dan Alpe, chief operating officer of Jucy.

Campervans are the perfect vehicle to be electrically powered as tourists tend to drive during the day and can then recharge overnight at their campground.

“One of the biggest barriers we will face in the short term is lack of infrastructure to support EV charging.

“We are working with camping grounds to introduce suitable facilities for overnight charging but there is also a need to bring in rapid chargers on the roads between main centres.

“At the same time, there are range limitations of the vehicles that need to be overcome to ensure tourists can travel long distances across the country, without the need to constantly recharge their battery.

“Our future as a sustainable tourist market will be short lived if our customer experience is impacted by the range their vehicle can travel each day,” he says.

Alpe says the company plans to introduce charging stations at their branches as well as Jucy Snooze hotels across NZ and Australia.

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Ford’s China expansion strategy

Ford has outlined the next phase of its China expansion strategy which revolves around SUVs, electric and connected vehicles and a new business model.

Photo shows (left to right): Jason Luo, Chairman and CEO, Ford China, Jim Hackett, CEO, Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, Peter Fleet, Group Vice President and President, Ford Asia Pacific.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett shared the vision yesterday while in China this week to meet with employees, customers, dealers and government officials.

“China is not only the largest car market in the world, it’s also at the heart of electric vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement,” said Bill Ford. “The progress we have achieved in China is just the start. We now have a chance to expand our presence in China and deliver even more for customers, our partners and society.”

Ford plans to expand its product portfolio by introducing more than 50 new vehicles by 2025. The fleet will include 8 all-new SUVs and at least 15 electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. And a new Zotye-Ford JV venture will deliver a separate range of affordable all-electric vehicles under a new brand.

“From luxury Lincolns, to Ford cars and SUVs, to an all-new electric vehicle brand, we will meet the growing desire and need in China for great new energy vehicles,” said Jason Luo, chairman and CEO, Ford China. “Each of them will be safe, efficient, fun to drive and backed by an ecosystem that makes charging, sharing and servicing easy,” said Hackett.

Jim Hackett, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, outlines his plans for Ford to become the world’s most trusted mobility company.

It was also announced that by the end of 2019, 100 percent of new Ford and Lincoln-badged vehicles in China will be connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices. Company leaders also are working on broader infrastructure opportunities to improve future mobility experiences.

“We are responding to the rapid pace of change by delivering increased connectivity and working to improve and simplify mobility for everyone,” Hackett said. “This builds on our commitment to deliver smart vehicles for a smart world, helping people around the world move more safely, confidently and freely.”

“All of the actions outlined today reflect an unprecedented commitment to focus on the needs of consumers in China through a more fit and streamlined Ford,” he added. “They are proof of our dedication to grow our business in China.”

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