We live in truly exciting times.

We live in truly exciting times. Challenging, also. But, if taking a macro view of the evolution of motorised transportation, it is clear to see that over the last decade the global car industry has metamorphosed faster and more conclusively than at almost any other time in its 130-plus-year history.

January 2020 saw the release of the Climate Change Commission’s draft report on the necessary pathways New Zealand must take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, with a particular focus on transport. The Commission stated that decarbonising transport is an essential part of reaching New Zealand’s net-zero emissions target of 2050. A rapid increase in the number of EVs on Kiwi roads will be key to achieving this.

The Commission called for a ban on the import of fossil fuel vehicles between 2030 and 2035; all light vehicles entering the country must be low emission vehicles by 2035 in order to meet the 2050 deadline. To achieve this wholesale change, the onus won’t just be on vehicle importers to provide cleaner options. The Commission’s report also states that a range of policies to support this objective will be needed, along with broader investment in transport and charging infrastructure.

While global registration numbers to this point reveal that the electric vehicle is still in a minority compared to internal combustion-powered transportation, the numbers are only trending upward. In 2020 – and despite the large-scale interruptions to manufacturing and retailing brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – sales of electric vehicles were still expected to top 2.5m globally. And this number will certainly grow. Until now, electric vehicle uptake in New Zealand has been steady rather than stellar. However, an amalgamation of broader societal interest in alternative mobility options, a plethora of new hybrid- or fullelectric models going into production for many of the world’s major manufacturers, and a greater degree of urgency around meaningful climate change response from government agencies, means that the idea of EV leasing or ownership is finding favour faster.

Malcolm Davison, Key Account Manager at Giltrap Group, says that the options for emissions free motoring for fleet customers are now just as readily available as they are for private buyer.
“The Giltrap Group’s comprehensive fleet offering already covers around 70 different models of vehicle, meaning we can provide an array of different options to cater to the requirements of an equally diverse number of sectors,” he says.

“With our portfolio of premium plug-in and electric vehicle options growing every quarter, we believe we are in an excellent position to help lead this transition in our national fleet, towards cleaner, more sustainable motoring, while supplying vehicles which still provide fit-for-purpose solutions for our fleet customers.”

The task required to decarbonise New Zealand’s roads does remain monumental. In 2020 sales of vehicles with any form of electrification (hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric) accounted for just 9.2% of total sales, with non-plug-in hybrid vehicles accounting for most of that (7.3%). However, as more electrified models come onstream from more manufacturers who are pushing ahead with decarbonisation strategies of their own, the choice for consumers will grow.

That most of these manufacturers seek to implement alternative powertrain architecture, but not to the detriment of beautiful design, real-world practicality, and engaging performance, is good news for car buyers. We suggested in the introduction that the changes underway in the car industry are more conclusive than ever before.

Consider that, since the previous issue of 66 Magazine arrived at the end of 2020, both Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo have announced wholesale shifts in their electric vehicle strategies. Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Reimagine Strategy’ sees the British brand now rushing to meet a bold deadline of 2025 to have Jaguar as an all-electric range of cars. The first electric Land Rover is due in just three years. Volvo, meanwhile, has announced a commitment to becoming a leader in the premium electric car market and plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030. Both Volkswagen’s present and future are electric, as is Audi’s. So is Nissan’s past, with plenty more in store. Porsche has debuted the stunning Taycan electric sports car. McLaren the Artura Hybrid. More electric performance will follow from a variety of carmakers. And luxury e-motoring too, from the likes of Bentley.

The futureproofing has already begun.

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