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New vehicle registrations steady

David Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association says “April new vehicle registrations of 10,423 vehicles were down 2 per cent (212 units) in April 2017 reflecting a stable market. Year to date the market is marginally up by 1.4 per cent (704 units) compared to the first four months of 2017.”

David Crawford, chief executive officer of the MIA

Registrations of 6,848 passenger and SUV vehicles for the month of April were down 2.1 per cent (148 units) on April 2017 and registrations of 3,575 commercial vehicles was marginally down by 1.8 per cent (64 units) on April 2017.”

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 13 percent market share (1,310 units), followed by Ford with 11 per cent (1,115 units) and Mazda with 9 per cent market share (893 units).

Mazda was the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 11 per cent market share (760 units) followed by Toyota with 10 per cent (712 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (540 units).

In the commercial sector, Ford regained the market lead with 22 per cent market share (803 units) followed by Toyota with 17 per cent (598 units) and Holden with 9 per cent market share (312 units).

Four of the top five selling models for the month of April were light commercial vehicles with the Mazda CX-5 (SUV) splitting the list in the third spot. The Ford Ranger was back at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 745 units. This was followed by the Toyota Hilux with 457 units and the Mazda CX-5 with 317 units.

The Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4×4 segment came in as the top segment for the month of April with 15 per cent market share. This was closely followed by the SUV Medium segment also with 15 per cent of the market, and the SUV compact with 14 per cent market share. The top five segments were all light commercial vehicles and SUV’s, reflecting the ongoing popularity of these vehicles.

“The market for new vehicles remains at historically high levels with registrations underpinned by a range of economic factors. Net immigration, while reducing is still elevated based on long-term trends, new vehicle prices remain competitive and the economy is stable” said Mr Crawford.

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Hybrid VW golf confirmed

48-V belt-integrated starter generator, 48-V battery and DC/DC converter

Volkswagen has confirmed an upcoming hybrid model of the eighth-generation Golf. 

Due to be revealed in 2019, the next-generation Golf will be offered with an all-new 48-V mild hybrid option that will work alongside Volkswagen’s current 12-V system.

Volkswagen already offers a completely electric e-Golf, which is currently one of New Zealand’s best selling electric vehicles (EVs), however, the next-generation Golf will be the first time Volkswagen use the new hybrid option, which will be utilised in further models.

Volkswagen will combine a combustion engine with a new 48-V belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-V battery. The mild hybrid system will enable the new Golf to ‘coast’ while the combustion engine is completely switched off, saving up to 0.3 litres of fuel over 100 kilometres while promising improved dynamics and convenience with an “electric boost.”

“Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience”, says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Technical Development.

Welsch continues: “We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream”.

Volkswagen states that the 48-V system enables a considerably higher amount of energy to be saved than the 12-V system, e.g. via recuperation when the vehicle brakes. This high level of voltage enables a number of operations, including the actuation of the 48-V belt-integrated starter generator.

The generator performs the role of alternator and starter. At the same time, it functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases drive torque upon start-up by means of an electric boost. The power of the generator is transferred via a belt. The generator also starts the combustion engine – which is switched off as much as possible while the vehicle is moving.

Welsch continues: “The basic interaction of different energy sources – electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas – represents a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. For the first time, the company will simultaneously offer product lines such as the Golf with conventional, electrically assisted drives as well as product lines such as the I.D. with purely electrical drives in the future.”

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Tesla police vehicles deployed

Source: Christophe Olinger

The Luxembourg police have announced that they are now using the Tesla Model S for two of their police patrol cars and have fitted them with police equipment, reports local news site Luxemburger Wort. 

Luxembourg regulators took a long time to approve the vehicles. There were apparently problems with the new light systems and they had yet to complete high-speed tests, which were later performed at a test track in Germany.

The Model S vehicles needed to be tested at 250 km/h, which is the top speed of the performance versions of the Model S. It shouldn’t be a problem to reach it, but sustaining it for a long period of time is going to be an issue. It’s not clear what the nature of the test is other than achieving the top speed.

The two vehicles are now in operation as of last week, according to Luxemburger Wort.

One of the vehicles is used “a motorway patrol vehicle” and the other is used as part of the “Service Escortes et Contrôles (SEC)” fleet, which performs police escort duties.

In terms of range, the country is ideal for electric cars since it’s only 82 km long and 57 km wide. As for speed and acceleration, all of the latest versions of Tesla’s Model S are now quicker and faster than conventional police cars.

In Canada, Ontario Provincial Police got a Model X and Swiss Police added 7 Tesla Model X 100Ds to their fleet. In the US, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Denver Police Department are both using Model S sedans as part of their fleets. In Europe, Scotland Yard says that it is considering the vehicle as a police cruiser.

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Funding boost welcomed

The NZ Automobile Association is welcoming the Australian government’s decision to continue funding the work of independent vehicle safety consumer organisation ANCAP for another five years.
Stella Stocks

Stella Stocks, the AA’s general manager of motoring services

Stella Stocks, general manager of motoring services at the AA, which sits on ANCAP’s board, has welcomed the funding announcement. She says the money from Australia’s federal government is a welcome boost to the funds ANCAP receives from state-government agencies across the Tasman, the New Zealand government and motoring clubs in both countries. “The extra funding is a big boost for vehicle safety,” says Stocks.

The Government’s $6.64 million commitment to fund ANCAP for another five years will assist ANCAP to continue the role it plays in testing and assessing new cars, providing information for consumers about vehicle safety and general advocacy about safety on roads.

ANCAP Chief Executive James Goodwin noted the important role safer vehicles play in reducing road trauma. “Continued emphasis to elevate the safety of new vehicles – as well as to reduce the overall age of the nation’s registered vehicle fleet – are critical to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by serious crashes,” says Goodwin.

The Australian Government joined as a member of ANCAP in 2010 and is one of 23 member organisations including the Australian and New Zealand automobile clubs, all State and Territory Governments and the New Zealand Government.

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Drive Happy Project on target

Toyota’s new way of selling vehicles, the Drive Happy Project, is on target despite its relatively quiet start in April, with 1362 sales recorded to date since launch. 

“We expected a significant dip in sales for April,” said Toyota New Zealand’s CEO Alistair Davis. “Transitioning to a new way of doing business is not going to happen overnight, or even in one month. We are in this for the long term.”

Davis said introducing the Drive Happy programme in April was partially by design.

“We had a good March, with Toyota stores contributing to this as they increased their demonstrator fleets as part of the Drive Happy Project.”

The first month of the new financial year – April – is also slower for the fleet, rental and lease business, said Mr Davis. “This has allowed us to fine-tune some of our system changes without the pressure of the usual larger sales volumes.”

He said customers had to get used to the idea of a Toyota Driveaway Price (TDP) – considerably lower than the previous recommended retail prices – with no haggling.

“People can still buy a new Toyota at their local store, with or without doing online research,” said Mr Davis.

However, most customers are making use of the improved online features with Toyota confirming a 10 per cent increase in visitors to their website on the previous month, with 15% of those making use of the online car builder.

The Toyota Driveaway Price includes delivery costs, number plates, registration, a full tank of fuel, floor mats, 1000kms of road user charges on diesel vehicles and a seven-day money back policy if the customer is not happy with the vehicle.

“Customers have more options to get the exact model in the colour they want from the large pool of vehicles held in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch,” said Mr Davis.

Toyota New Zealand expected and planned for slower sales with the introduction of Drive Happy, said Mr Davis.

“There’s a transition period for us as our network of stores and customers to get used to the improvements we’re making. We’re excited about the future and the opportunities these changes have opened up for us.”

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Wasps on standby

Horticultural industry groups and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have applied for permission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to release the samurai wasp as a biocontrol agent in the event stink bugs are found in New Zealand.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Council chairman Alan Pollard said an incursion would have disastrous consequences for horticulturists and their industries as well as everyday New Zealanders.

“The stink bug is one of the biggest biosecurity threats we face, and it could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses. The wasp provides an opportunity to be proactive in our approach and gives us another tool we can use to control the stink bug,” Pollard said to Stuff NZ.

“It feeds on over 300 plant species and can multiply and get to very high population numbers rapidly, destroying crops and gardens and even get into your home.

“In the UA and Europe where the invasive pest has become established, it has caused severe damage to the horticulture industries. It’s also invaded residents’ homes and become a real social nuisance.

“We’ve also seen growers overseas use high levels of insecticides as the primary way to control the stink bug. We believe the wasp will provide a targeted and self-sustaining control tool and provides growers with another option other than increasing insecticide sprays.”

In February, infestations were found in four container ships headed to New Zealand from Japan.

 A NZIER report estimated that gross domestic product would fall by between $1.8 billion and $3.6b by 2038 if it became established.

 

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Petrol prices on the rise

Petrol prices increased 5.0 per cent in the year ended March 2018, Stats NZ said today. In the March 2018 quarter prices rose 2.7 percent.

Rising crude oil prices, and a falling exchange rate, contributed to pushing petrol prices up in the second half of 2017.

“The average price for a litre of 91 octane reached $2.00 in March 2018,” prices senior manager Paul Pascoe said. “This is the highest level since the December 2014 quarter.”

Average petrol prices in the CPI take into account loyalty card and supermarket discounts, and therefore differ from those seen at the petrol station.

For several quarters, petrol prices have moved in different ways in different parts of the country, rather than rising or falling consistently at a national level.

Since 2013, Wellington and the South Island have typically had larger increases and smaller decreases than the rest of the country.

The regional pattern changed in the year ended March 2018. Auckland prices either fell less or increased more than Wellington and Canterbury in three of the past four quarters.

In the March 2018 quarter, Auckland petrol prices rose 3.9 per cent, while Wellington and Canterbury rose 0.8 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

In the year ended March 2018, Auckland petrol prices increased 6.5 per cent, Wellington increased 1.7 per cent, and Canterbury 1.3 per cent.

From March 2013 to March 2018, Auckland prices decreased 5.0 per cent, Wellington prices decreased 3.8 per cent, and Canterbury prices decreased 3.1 per cent.

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First domestic V2G charger

UK firm, OVO Energy, has unveiled what the company is calling the world’s first widely available, domestic electric vehicle-to-grid charger.

With a 6kW charge and discharge power rating, this intelligent device has been designed to give drivers the option to discharge excess electricity from their cars back to the electricity grid, providing flexibility services and helping to supply energy at times of peak demand.

OVO CEO and Founder Stephen Fitzpatrick, said, “Today we’re launching the world’s first widely available vehicle-to-grid charger, helping to solve one of the biggest challenges facing the energy sector. We’re enabling thousands of EV batteries to help balance the grid in times of peak demand, more renewable energy to come onto the system, and households to reduce their electricity bills.”

Fitzpatrick added this new approach to energy was made possible by the “convergence of emerging technologies, applying intelligence, and years of working with customers to redesign the entire energy system.”

The 6kW OVO Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Charger offers drivers of certain electric vehicles the opportunity to discharge excess electricity from their cars back to the electric grid to help supply energy at times of peak demand. 

Using VCharge, this charger will also optimise vehicle charging to take advantage of cheaper electricity when it’s available. The OVO Vehicle-to-Grid Charger will be rolled out from summer 2018 for up to 1,000 Nissan electric vehicle owners as part of a two-year trial.

VCharge is a highly scalable system that remotely connects distributed flexible electrical devices and aggregates them into a virtual power plant.

This connected system reacts as a whole to changes in demand and supply, recognising strain and reacting within a second.

By intelligently managing both generation and demand in this way, the company states that VCharge could facilitate more renewable energy generation and supply without the need for costly infrastructure investment.  

Vector also introduced a two-way electric vehicle (EV) charger in New Zealand in July 2017.  

“With V2G technology, many homes could be powered by their EVs at peak time. Similarly, EVs will be releasing energy back to the grid to support grid demand while taking advantage of a higher peak energy buyback rate,” said Andre Botha, Chief Networks Officer.

According to Botha, Vector will be offering V2G to customers in the near future.

 

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Car carrier completes discharge

The latest update from Autohub has been released on the progress of the Mitsui Osk Line (MOL) car carriers; the Courageous Ace, Primrose Ace, Glovis Caravel, Adria Ace, Palmela and Garnet Ace.

Courageous Ace
We are pleased to advise that the Courageous Ace has completed discharge at all New Zealand ports and has departed New Zealand.

Glovis Caravel
The Glovis Caravel inspections by MPI are progressing well, with final units’ heat treatment to be completed today (18th of April).

Cargo on the main decks has been discharged, cleared and released by MPI. MOL expects to have clearance for a full discharge once final units complete heat treatment.

Subject to yard space on Ports of Auckland MOL will look to discharge 2 decks (approx. 400 cars) of cargo for MPI to complete their deck surveillance requirements.

Based on space availability at Ports of Auckland, Glovis Caravel should be completely discharged by the 22nd of April.

Discharge delays
Due to discharge delays in Auckland from lack of yard space and the planned strike action in Lyttelton, MOL regrets to advise that the Glovis Caravel will be travelling to Lyttelton or Nelson.

All Nelson cargo ex the Glovis Caravel will tranship in Auckland to the Adria Ace.
All Lyttelton cargo ex the Glovis Caravel will tranship in Auckland to the Palmela.

To date, there has been no change to planned strike action by the RMTU in Lyttelton. Strike action in Lyttelton will start the 20th of April ending midnight on the 24th of April and then from the 26th of April ending midnight on the 29th of April.

Please find below updated schedule (all schedules are subject to MPI inspections process, berth and yard availability):

*Subject to berth availability due to congestion
**tranship AKL to the Valiant Ace V.49

 

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Toyota to get cars ‘talking’

2017 Toyota Corolla

Toyota has announced they will start putting short-range communications chips in US vehicles in the next three years, in order to make cars safer by getting them to “talk” with one another.

The American car manufacturer will put the chips in Toyota and Lexus models in the US starting in 2021, said Andrew Coetzee, group vice president of product planning for North America. The technology will enable cars to send data on their location and speed to surrounding vehicles and roadside infrastructure to curb crashes.

Toyota is going public with the campaign in order to get the rest of the auto industry and industry regulators to embrace the technology.

It’s also headed for a clash with phone companies that would rather see carmakers embrace 5G cellular networks to accomplish the same task. 

“The dedicated short-range communications systems Toyota will start using, known as DSRC, send information back and forth to one another several times a second and can alert drivers to potential collisions before they happen,” said Bloomberg.  A broad coalition of auto companies, including Toyota and General Motors, urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in November to support a “talking cars” mandate for all new passenger vehicles by 2023.

 “We need to make a technology choice when there’s no regulatory requirement in place,” John Kenney said to Bloomberg, director of networking research at the Toyota InfoTechnology Center in Mountain View, California. “What we’re doing today is speaking up and saying ‘We will deploy DSRC technology and we encourage other automakers to do the same.’”

When the Transportation Department released a proposal for the requirement in December 2016, regulators under the Obama administration estimated the technology could prevent or mitigate 80 percent of vehicle crashes not influenced by driver impairment.

Coetzee said he’s not convinced automakers should share the spectrum band with cable or tech companies.

“We need to make sure we’re got super, super reliable and very quick transmission speeds,” Coetzee said to Bloomberg. “More testing will be needed to show you can do this” while sharing airwaves.

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