What do Kiwis think about the future of motoring in New Zealand?

With more electric vehicles (EVs) hitting our roads every day and talk of self-driving cars coming too, we wanted to find out what Kiwis think about the future of motoring. 

We ran a survey with 550 Kiwis and the results were very interesting. Two-thirds of Kiwis are concerned about autonomous vehicles hitting our roads, and just 11% said their next vehicle will be an EV. 

Check out our media release below for more information.

Media Release

Survey says: Electric and self-driving vehicles have a long road ahead  

Most New Zealanders are yet to join the electric vehicle revolution with only 11 per cent lining up an EV for their next vehicle purchase, according to a recent Trade Me Motors survey.

Head of Trade Me Motors Alan Clark said 550 New Zealanders took part in the survey which sought to find out what Kiwis thought about the future of motoring.

Alan Clark _Head Of Trade Me Motors

Mr Clark said EVs had been on the New Zealand motoring scene for four or five years, but many New Zealanders were yet to embrace them. “EVs are going from strength-to-strength with companies like Tesla making huge media waves and incredible technological advances, yet it’s clear many New Zealand motorists are still hesitant.

“While we’ve seen recent findings suggesting that Kiwis will consider an EV, when it comes down to it only 11 per cent of people said they would pull the trigger and buy an EV as their next vehicle. While 11 per cent is small, it’s very encouraging and with any new technology it will take a while for it to become the option of choice. We expect this number to keep growing strongly over the next few years.

“Battery life, cost and reliability were the chief concerns of Kiwis and these are only going to improve as EV technology expands,” he said.

Reasons for not purchasing an EV

Percentage of respondents

Concerns about battery life


Cost to own and operate


Overall reliability


“Despite the ongoing savings, the initial outlay for an EV is a clear deterrent. The average cost for an EV onsite in July was $24,000 while the average price for a car on Trade Me was just $16,000 in July.

“We also know that with so few charging stations around the country, especially outside the main centres, it’s a challenge to plan out a journey and this puts a lot of people off. Then there’s the additional cost to have a charging station installed in your garage to factor in too.”

While there was purchasing hesitancy, Mr Clark said Kiwis are still keeping an eye on EVs. “There’s been a 71 per cent increase in the number of EVs being added to members’ watchlists on Trade Me in the last year. There has also been an influx of EVs onsite with the number of listings climbing 72 per cent year-on-year.”

He said the trend was set to continue, but EVs had a long way to go to threaten the popularity of internal combustion vehicles, with EVs comprising a mere 0.18 per cent of the national vehicle fleet of almost 4 million vehicles.

Mr Clark said New Zealand is a nation of used car buyers and for used EVs to be in the market, we need new EVs first. “It’s great to see the Government’s initiative to convert its fleet to electric because this will eventually mean more used EVs on the market for the average Kiwi. However, the challenges the Government is currently facing to make this switch is indicative of the challenge EVs have in gaining more of a foothold in the New Zealand market.

“There is a long road ahead before EVs become the vehicle of choice for Kiwis and we achieve the zero carbon emission goal. We need to see a larger investment in charging stations throughout the country and bigger incentives for Kiwis to make the switch, until then the internal combustion engine will continue to lead the way.”  

Petrol and diesel is still preferred

Mr Clark said petrol and diesel still runs in the veins of many New Zealanders and it will take time for that to change.

“Despite the rise of electric and hybrid vehicles, 71 per cent of Kiwis said that the next vehicle they purchase will be the tried and true petrol or diesel. Petrol was the most popular choice for 18-25 year olds, with 67 per cent claiming that their next vehicle purchase will be petrol.

“Price is a massive factor for most people aged 18-25, so we won’t see the younger demographic moving towards EVs until they’re more affordable.”

Kiwis concerned about self-driving cars

The survey also identified New Zealanders’ nervousness about autonomous vehicles hitting our roads too.

“Almost two-thirds of Kiwis are worried about autonomous vehicles, with women (74 per cent)  significantly more skeptical than men (56 per cent),” Mr Clark said.

“People are most worried about the vehicles being hacked, along with the legalities around liability if the car crashed. All in all it seems self-driving cars will need to clock up a fair few kilometers of trust before Kiwis are OK with them on our roads.”

Mr Clark said young people (18-25 years old) were unsurprisingly more relaxed about the prospect of self-driving cars, with only 28 per cent saying they were apprehensive.