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New Zealand: Hybrids in NZ: The definitive guide

Eco-friendly vehicles seem to be at last living up to their promise for economy, affordability and fun

Hybrid cars are on a slow burn in New Zealand, in more ways than one. They use clever technology to minimise fuel use, but they have also had minimal impact on new-car sales. Less than 5 per cent of registrations are hybrid vehicles.

How come? Given that hybrid technology seems to enjoy a reputation as the answer to the automotive world’s emissions woes, our roads should be absolutely crawling with them. That’s not the case, for a number of reasons.

For a start, it’s clever technology, but it’s been a while getting there in terms of fuel economy.

Hybrids make a considerable contribution towards cleaning up local emissions, especially if you’re driving in the city, but in our experience real-world fuel economy often does not live up to the laboratory figures. Hybrids sometimes struggle to match comparable, conventional diesel-fuel cars.

Hybrids have not always been good to drive: with powertrains optimised for economy, the regenerative braking hardware that goes with the battery technology and low-friction tyres, many hybrid cars feel a bit, well, appliance-like.


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