The Government has added three new, fully battery-electric Audis to its ministerial limo fleet and is edging ever-closer to its goal of having a 100 per cent green fleet by 2025.
Close to half of the Crown's ministerial cars and limos are now electric-capable – that's up from a third at the start of this year.
And that fleet appears to have a relatively new crown jewel – three new Audi e-tron fully battery-electric (BEV) SUVs, which were introduced in February.
These were brought into the fleet alongside three new BMW X5 plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) SUVs.
According to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), as of September 2020 the Crown fleet currently has a total of 67 vehicles, 41 per cent of which are electric-capable.
Although the total hasn't shifted much since the start of this year, it's up from 29 per cent in January 2019.
However, the number of cars in the fleet has dropped slightly from 72 at the start of the year to 67 in September.
Although the new Audis are not dedicated to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern full-time, it is likely used to drive her around in Auckland or Wellington.
A DIA spokesman said Crown limos have historically accommodated child seats and restraints so these are available for all users.
Ardern has a 2-year-old daughter, Neve.
"All Crown cars, regardless of where they are based, are assessed for approved child restraints," the DIA spokesman said.
But he said no specific requests regarding fitting of child seats were made to recently purchased Crown cars over and above the standard instructions when the vehicles were delivered.
While the BMW 7-series currently make up the bulk of the chauffeur-driven Crown fleet, the Government has been diversifying its fleet over the past couple of years.
Speaking to the Herald about the fleet in late December, The Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services, Chris Hipkins said: "Low emission, environmentally sustainable, fit for purpose transport is an important priority for the Government," he said.
Breakdown of the Crown fleet:
• Petrol and/or diesel cars – 39
• Battery electric vehicles – 8
• Plug-in hybrids electric vehicles – 20