Kiwis are waiting up to 12 months to buy the world’s first hybrid seven seat SUV - and are pre-purchasing them without a test drive in a bid to secure a vehicle.
One car company says New Zealand interest in electric cars is growing exponentially with the combination of fuel efficiency and performance now available in large, hybrid SUVs a major driver.
Volvo says it plans to increase the number of electric vehicles available to Kiwis in line with the brand’s plans to sell up to one million electrified cars globally by 2025.
The Swedish company will offer at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and release its first all-electric car in 2019.
Volvo NZ national manager Coby Duggan says in the New Zealand market, the new electric vehicle strategy will begin with the introduction of the world’s first seven seat hybrid SUV this month.
“Kiwis are early adopters and we have seen huge interest in our XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. We think this car will account for more than 10% of XC90 volume in 2016, and this engine will have an important role to play across the range in the years ahead with the next iteration being the S90 T8 sedan in 2017,” says Duggan.
“Kiwis have a growing appetite for the new technology with many of our customers having waited up to a year for their vehicles to arrive, most were pre-sold well in advance and we have a number of customers on waiting lists which are still up to 6 months long,” he says.
Duggan says despite the size of the vehicle, at 2.1litres/100km, it will be more fuel efficient than many small vehicles on the road, but not at the expense of performance given its combined output of 300kW and 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds.
“Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle is due for global release in 2019 and we are hoping to have it available to New Zealand customers as it will be an important technological flagship for the Volvo brand. We would also expect the market for all-electric vehicles in New Zealand to have matured considerably by 2019/2020,” he says.
Duggan says Volvo has set an ambitious goal and has been preparing for the emergence of electrified vehicles for the last five years.
“Volvo’s engineers have developed two all new vehicle architectures for larger and smaller cars – Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – that can incorporate either hybrid or fully electric car technology.
The new electrified car pledge forms part of a wide ranging review of Volvo’s strategic sustainability programme announced today that contains several new commitments that place sustainability at the centre of its future business operations, he says.
The new commitment has been christened ‘omtanke’, which is a Swedish word that means ‘consideration’ or ‘caring’.
Among the commitments being made by Volvo Cars are that it will impose climate neutral operations by 2025, have 35 per cent of its leading positions held by women by 2020, move further towards its vision that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo and work with international partners to promote sustainability.
Full details of Volvo’s new wide-ranging sustainability commitment can be found in the Volvo Cars Sustainability Report.