New Zealand's police officers will be responding to crime in a new frontline vehicle, the force officially ditching the Holdens in 2021.
After a rigorous testing and evaluation process, New Zealand Police has selected the Škoda Superb as its new frontline, primary response vehicle as a more environmentally-friendly option.
The first of the fleet are expected on the roads in April, with the new-look patrol cars to be revealed early next year.
In a statement on Wednesday, police confirmed that it went to tender for a new, preferred supplier after General Motors announced it was pulling Holden out of the Australasian market.
With more than 2000 primary response vehicles currently in action, the selection of a new supplier was an "important opportunity" to reduce carbon emissions, Commissioner Andrew Coster said.
"Frontline staff said they handled well and they felt confident and safe driving the vehicle," he said.
"They liked the large doors with a wide opening range, easy-to-read instruments, front and rear visibility, and the spaciousness of the rear passenger area."
Staff opted for the station wagons due to their body type and greater flexibility for deployment. The 162KW 2WD and the 206KW 4x4 Superbs will be deployed according to operational requirements.
"Škoda is repeatedly chosen for use as police and emergency services vehicles throughout Europe. It is used in more than 30 jurisdictions, including Austria, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom," Coster added.
"More importantly, these new vehicles will deliver significant reductions in our fleet’s carbon footprint."
The average CO2 emissions for all fleet vehicles in New Zealand is 180.7 grams per kilometre, while the Superbs sit on the greener side at 162 for the 162KW model and 176 for the 206KW, the statement noted.
Compared to the current fleet, CO2 emissions per kilometre could be reduced by upto 38.6 percent per vehicle.
Although electric and hybrid vehicles were tested, the police noted limitations such as power efficiency and the cost of ownership. Coster noted that while electric and hybrid technology is not yet a viable option for patrol vehicles, NZ Police has committed to a 10-year plan to an emissions-free fleet.
Prime 1 Patrol Vehicles in the existing fleet will be replaced when they have reached the end of their useful life, at a rate of around 400 per year.