The New Zealand Police have confirmed plans to evaluate the Skoda Superb iV plug-in hybrid as a future ‘Prime 1’ police vehicle — signaling the first time that the police have confirmed that a plug-in vehicle is being considered.
“Police [have] been open about our discussions with Skoda and the desire to trial new technology including hybrid and electric vehicles. This month we will begin testing a Škoda PHEV vehicle to establish if it meets the requirements to trial in the police operational environment,” an NZ Police spokesperson told Newsroom.
“At Police we are looking for opportunities to reduce our vehicle fleet emissions while maintaining our operational requirements, continuing to keep communities safe and delivering the service New Zealanders expect and deserve. […] We will continue to work with Skoda and other providers to discuss and advance any opportunities.”
The news comes following the New Zealand Government’s late-2020 pledge to electrify its vehicle fleet, seemingly including police vehicles. The government has had a rocky relationship with past pledges to increase the amount of plug-ins on its fleet, having been criticised in the past by the likes of Greenpeace for not making previous pledges a reality.
It’s been reported that the first Superb hybrids will arrive this week, in time for a first-drive media launch next week. According to Newsroom the arrival is much earlier than had been expected, having been potentially fast tracked due to the nameplate’s local police-vehicle status.
NZ Autocar has contacted a local Skoda spokesperson for additional comments about whether the early arrival will also mean benefits for consumers who want their plug-in Superbs now.
Each Superb iV variant comes with the same 160kW turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. Skoda claims a 0–100km/h time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 224km/h.
Skoda claims the Superb iV can travel a competitive 62km on electric power alone when fully charged thanks to a 13kWh lithium-ion battery (mounted in the floor just in front of the rear axle). Those using a conventional home plug can charge the battery in between five and seven hours.
The sedan Style kicks off the Superb iV range at $72,990, with the wagon Style, sedan Sportline, and wagon Sportline following at $75,990, $76,990, and $79,990, respectively. Should it make it to police duties, it’s expected that police will exclusively use wagon variants.