New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern will soon be riding in a clean and green Audi-e-tron electric car, which will replace the government’s standard diesel BMW 7 series vehicles, according to new reports.
The newly re-elected Labour PM already owns an all-electric Hyundai Ioniq as her personal vehicle, but there is now confirmation that one of a number of e-trons ordered by the NZ government is being decked out for a toddler, for use in Ardern’s home town.
Ardern was the first sitting world leader to give birth since Benazir Bhutto in 1990, and famously made history taking baby Neve with her when attending the United Nations general assembly meeting in 2018.
Now, a report from Motoring NZ shares that one of the vehicle being prepared for the NZ government ministerial fleet in Auckland has been checked out for suitability for the addition of a child seat, apparently for Neve, who is now a toddler.
The NZ government has ordered three Audi e-trons, which cost $NZ155,500 (before on-road costs) in long-range ’55’ format, and are being prepared to serve the highest state-level duties.
Two of these will serve to shuttle ministers between Wellington Airport and the government’s parliament, fondly known as the Beehive, while the third with baby seat will be placed in service in Ardern’s home town of Auckland.
The vehicles were approved after a trial run on behalf of the NZ ministry of business, innovation and employment. While Audi has been a supplier of vehicles to the NZ government for years, it is the highest level of service the car maker will supply to so far, says Motoring NZ.
The approval of the Audi e-trons for government service in New Zealand is another stark reminder of the gap that exists between the approach of the Australian government to our neighbours over the pond.
When the Australian government last assessed new vehicles for its federal fleet, it briefly test-drove two Tesla electric cars as part of an early assessment but subsequently cut them from a final shortlist.
It later chose the BMW 6 Series GT sedan and a hybrid model of the Toyota Camry instead to replace the aging Holden Comcar fleet.
Department officials were unable to tell senate estimates why the Tesla vehicles were cut, while finance minister Mathias Cormann said that the Toyota and BMW models were the “two most environmentally efficient.”
The NSW government also considered Tesla electric vehicles for its fleet, but decided that they were “too quick” for procurement under fleet vehicle guidelines. However, NSW energy minister Matt Kean has a Tesla Model 3 as his ministerial car, which he gets to drive on weekends, and loves it.
The Audi e-tron is available in Australia from $A137,700 before on-road costs, and was recently test driven by The Driven’s Sam Parkinson – read here for his take on this premium EV drive from Audi.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.