EV Data: Definitions and Sources

How Many EV’s are there in NZ?

Do you include farmer Jane’s Polaris electric ATV? Or just passenger cars? Utes? Heavy? Light?

What is a light vehicle anyway? What about that electric moped you just saw? Electric buses maybe? Commercial? An electric forklift?

Registered? Licensed? Unlicensed? Exempt???

I’ve had to draw the line on what I believe it most relevant. So here’s the deal:

(Electric Vehicle)
This is anything with a plug to charge a battery. Includes both BEVs (battery or full electric vehicles), and PHEVs (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles).
HybridThis is recorded under various different names in the MVR database but is
Light VehicleA vehicle that is under 3,500 kg and is a type of either PASSENGER CAR/VAN or GOODS VAN/TRUCK/UTILITY. So it basically covers all the light vehicles you see on the road: the cars (sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks etc), small vans (like a Toyota Hiace), Utes (Ford Ranger etc).
It’s worth noting that ALL passenger cars are < 3,500 kg – so the light really only applies to the vans and utes.
Light EVAccording to above, a light EV will be a BEV or PHEV that is a car, van, or ute. The reality is that there are hardly any electric vans / utes.
CarsAny registered vehicle with a Vehicle Type of PASSENGER CAR / VAN
Commercial VehicleIt seems Waka Kotahi calls a commercial vehicle where Vehicle Type is one of BUS, MOTOR CARAVAN, or GOODS VAN / TRUCK / UTE. This could include light and heavy vehicles.
RegistrationsTracking registrations is clear cut. Each month we can clearly see the number of vehicles added to the register (as either NZ New or Used Import).
Fleet SizeMeasuring Fleet size is complex. Once a vehicle is registered it needs to have it’s license renewed every year. The vehicle could be scrapped (i.e. after a crash), or the owner could choose to take it off the road and exempt it from the register.
Or maybe they drive it into the front garden and leave it there to rust… eventually the registration will lapse and it will no longer be in the fleet.
NZ NewNew to the vehicle register.
Used ImportNew to the vehicle register but is pre-owned and driven overseas. Note that all vehicles in NZ are technically ‘imports’, as we don’t manufacturer any cars here.

So let’s reframe above question to this:

How many BEV and PHEV cars, light utes and vans were registered last month (or past year)?

There are a number of places where vehicle registration information is publicly available:

  1. Waka Kotahi Open Portal
    A massive portal to the entire NZ MVR (Motor Vehicle Registration) database. It appears to be show current active registrations, and can sometimes be lagging over a month behind.
  2. Te Manatu Waka – Monthly EV Statistics
    This is a large series of graphs focusing on EV stats by month.
  3. Te Manatu Waka – Monthly MV Registrations
    A series of graphs that can be broken down by fuel type.
  4. Motor Vehicle Dashboard
    Can filter data from the last year by up to six criteria. This is the best place to get data.

BMW Inconsistencies

The recording of data on the MVR db for BMW is a shambles. Most new i3’s are registered as a BMW i – but used are called an i3. A new iX is registered as an i… as is a PHEV i8… It’s a mess, but I’ve filtered out i3’s without the range extender (a type of PHEV).

Reconciling Data

I’ve spent entirely too much of my life trying to reconcile the numbers in each of these sources.

They don’t match.

The number of EV registrations shown on the Monthly EV stats do not match what’s in the MV dashboard. I’ve tried every criteria I can (these are confusing enough as it is).