EV vs Combustion Market Share

Electric Vehicles – while growing in numbers – still represent a small part of the vehicle market, with the majority being Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.

Up until 2021 the EV fleet size increased – but only at the same rate as the number of petrol/diesel vehicles.

However 2021 marked significant change with the introduction of the Clean Car Discount, and an increasing number of models available.

Light Vehicle Registrations in New Zealand

Snapshot of the latest data (average of the last 3 months).

Change in Motive Power of Light Vehicles

At the beginning of 2020 over 88% of light vehicles registered in NZ were Petrol or Diesel.

The effect of the clean car rebate can be seen from July 2021.

The extended fee scheme had an unintended consequence of lowering clean car registrations in March 2022 (the rush to beat the fees). This was immediately followed by a bounce back to hybrids (holding back in order to gain a rebate).

Light EV Registrations Over Time

A 3 month rolling average has been applied to smooth out the significant swings (month to month).

According to the EECA, by 2030 over 50% of monthly vehicle sales need to be electric in order to meet emissions reduction targets.

NZ Compared to Other Countries

2021 was a year of massive growth in EV market share around the world.

However New Zealand’s EV market share is modest compared to Europe and China.

Norway is not shown here. In 2021 only 4% of cars registered were petrol, and 4% were diesel. Japan’s slow embrace of EVs may be impacting NZ due to it being our primary source market for used imports.


  • Market share means sales (or registrations) of vehicles.
  • An EV is anything with a plug (BEV and PHEV)
  • Data Sources: EV fleet data at Te Manatu Waka / Ministry of Transport. International data from IEA and Transport Environment.
By James Foster
Updated as at July 31, 2022