Electric vehicles

An electric vehicle (EV) has an electric motor that is powered by a battery which is charged by an external source of electricity.

There are two main types of EVs:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – these are powered by a battery only.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – these have two engines – one powered by a battery that is charged externally, the other is fuel powered and generally uses petrol or diesel.

Conventional forms of petrol hybrids aren’t considered EVs as they aren’t charged by ‘plugging in’. Their batteries are only charged by re-capturing energy when braking or from electricity generated by the engine.

Learn more about EVs(external link)

Electric vehicles and RUC

Light electric vehicles (gross laden weight 3500kg or less) are exempt from RUC until 31 March 2024.

From 1 April 2024, owners of light electric vehicles  will need to buy a road user charges (RUC) licence and display it on their windscreen.

This includes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). It doesn't include hybrid vehicles that can’t plug in to recharge. 

RUC for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles in New Zealand

Transport makes up about a half of carbon emissions in New Zealand, with most of this coming from road transport. Technology improvements eg improved battery range in EVs have opened up the range of low-carbon transport options that New Zealanders can make.

New Zealand is well-placed to benefit from EVs because:

  • More than 80 percent of our electricity is from renewable sources and there is enough supply for widespread adoption of EVs.
  • More than 85 percent of our homes have off-street parking, making home charging easy and convenient.
  • We have a low average commute. Urban drivers only travel 22km a day – a distance batteries in current EVs can easily handle.

Learn more about EVs and New Zealand(external link)

Many New Zealanders have already made the switch. 

Monthly statistics on low emission vehicles(external link)

EV work programme

We are helping New Zealand transition towards a low emission transport future, which includes supporting the uptake of EVs and other low emission vehicles.

We support a range of initiatives which are part of the wider cross-agency EV work programme designed to increase EV uptake.

The following initiatives, developed with the private sector, local and central government, are intended to boost the supply and demand for EVs:


EVRoam is a live database of public EV charging stations in New Zealand. It collects real-time information of all compliant and connected public charging stations, and freely distributes it to users via apps and websites. EVRoam also enables a clean picture of how and where our EV charging network is developing.

Map of public EV charging stations in New Zealand(external link)

Learn more about EVRoam

Electric vehicle engine type definitions

In July 2017, we updated New Zealand’s Motor Vehicle Register. It now has 10 engine type definitions to allow for all types of electric-powered vehicles to be clearly and correctly identified. This makes it easier to apply exemptions and report on the EV fleet. Note: other forms of electric mobility such as electric bikes and scooters are not included.

Engine definition changes from 1 July 2017

National EV charging infrastructure plan

We are working with other government agencies to develop a plan that will provide long-term strategic direction as New Zealand’s EV charging infrastructure expands.  

Ministry of Transport’s update to the Minister (May 2021)(external link)

Planning for electric vehicles

EECA’s consultation on public EV charging(external link)

Guidance and standards for EV charging infrastructure

We led the development of national guidance for public EV charging infrastructure, and supported the development of standards for residential and commercial EV charging infrastructure.

Guidance for EV charging infrastructure