Jaguar’s European Car of the Year victory with its I-Pace electric car this month simply underlined what members of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers had declared at the start of 2019 – electric power is here.
SGMW members made the Hyundai Kona EV their Car of the Year in the group’s New Year Honours List 2019, compounding that powerful vote of confidence by also naming the Honda Urban EV as their One to Watch Award winner, in turn beating off electric challenges from the Audi e-Tron and Tesla Model 3.
They then showed that the allure of Jaguar’s EV star was also not lost on them; it was only narrowly pipped to the post in the Dark Horse of the Year category.
SGMW chairman Ian Robertson said: “There have been a few false starts for electric power, but the turn of this year was surely the moment the predictions came good. Our members certainly thought so after many typically hard-nosed test drives in the leading EV contenders and an equally hard look at the developments around them and in the pipeline.
“Range anxiety and recharging times continue to be concerns but the pace of improvement in batteries and the charging infrastructure – and positive public will – means our members feel able to start recommending ‘Go Electric’ to their readers and followers.
“Naturally, we are also happy to see our views endorsed by Jaguar’s victory!”
Hyundai Motor UK’s headquarters at High Wycombe was also pleased to see the trend acknowledged and to receive the SGMW’s COTY award for the Kona EV. The Korean brand’s MD Ashley Andrew, pictured receiving the award from SGMW member David Wilkins, was delighted.
“Hyundai has led the charge in eco mobility, firstly with Ioniq and soon with Nexo that’s due to launch this month, but Kona Electric truly was a game-changer. It was the first fully electric sub-compact SUV to market, offering an extensive range and accessible price point – making it a viable option for many motorists to switch to.
“Thank you to the SGMW members for recognising this with this special accolade. Hyundai will continue its commitment to alternative powertrains and introduce 18 new electrified models to the range by 2025.”
The other six SGMW New Year Honours List 2019 award winners were:
Best PR Newcomer – awarded to someone who made a special impact in his or her liaison with the media during the past year and is either new to the industry PR scene or has taken on a new role/position. Winner: John O’Brien – Honda press fleet officer.
SGMW OBE (Operating Beyond Expectation) – awarded to anyone acting above and beyond the call of PR duty during the past year. It can be for consistent high performance, memorable one-off effort, or a thoughtful gesture towards one of our members caught in a bind. Winner: Simon Branney – Honda PR communications manager (cars).
Best PR Office – awarded to the operation consistently delivering the best all-round or forward-thinking service to SGMW throughout the year. Winner: Kia.
Best in PR Innovation – awarded for an unusual or particularly excellent launch, driving route or any imaginative addition to an event of the PR year in general. Winner: Vauxhall (particularly for its Heritage Fleet).
Dark Horse of the Year – a car that surprised SGMW members, either by its arrival or just how good it was. Winner: Suzuki Jimny.
One to Watch 2019 – the car that SGMW members most look forward to driving in the coming year. Winner: Honda Urban EV.