Feature article

Trade Me data shows staggering increase in EV interest following the government's announcement

Jeremy Wade, Head of Trade Me Classifieds, talks about the impact onsite.

In June 2021, the New Zealand government announced new measures to take action on reducing transport emissions in order to meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target. New Zealand’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050 and the Government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (primarily carbon dioxide CO2) to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Starting 1st July 2021, the Clean Car Discount will make it cheaper for New Zealanders to switch to an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV). To increase the uptake of EVs and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, a discount, in the form of rebate, is available for imported new and used light EVs and PHEVs registered between 1 July and 31 December 2021.

Approximately half of New Zealand’s CO2 emissions come from transport, of which two-thirds come from light vehicles – cars, SUVs, vans, utes and trucks under 3.5 tonnes. The aim of the Clean Car Discount scheme is to make it easier to choose to buy an electrified or low-emission light vehicle that is better for the environment by reducing the cost of fuel-efficient vehicles imported into New Zealand.

Jeremy Wade, Head of Trade Me Classifieds, talks about what impact this has had with consumer search behaviour on Trade Me Motors so far.

What are you seeing onsite following the Government’s announcement about EV rebate on the 13th June?

In the week following the announcement, searches, views and watchlists all saw staggering increases onsite.

During the week of the announcement, we saw over 21,600 searches for electric vehicles onsite. Views on EV listings onsite saw a 264% increase on the day of the announcement when compared with the day before.

Kiwis weren’t just browsing either and we saw a jump in watchlists immediately following the announcement. We saw a 290% increase in New Zealanders adding EVs to their watchlists. This has settled over the past month, however, overall we are seeing a sustained increase in watchlisting behaviour, with a 17% increase in July compared to the month before the announcement.

What about hybrids? 
Are they seeing an increase in interest?
We saw a 72% increase in searches the week following the government announcement, however, this has settled somewhat since then. In saying that, we’ve seen a 11% increase in searches over the past week, when compared to the 7 day period before the government announcement.

What are the most popular EV models?

The Nissan Leaf is definitely the Kiwi favourite and has been for the last wee while. The next most popular models are the BMW i3, Tesla Model X, and Hyundai Kona.

What is the impact on diesel and petrol interest?

Interestingly, despite the uptick in EV interest, we’re not seeing searches for petrol or diesel vehicles decrease. There was a 3% increase in searches for ‘ute’ during the week of the announcement when compared with the week prior.

Following the announcement of the introduction of levies for diesel vehicles, we also saw a 24% increase in searches for ‘diesel’ onsite, indicating some Kiwis are trying to get in before the legislation comes into effect. Kiwis’ watchlisting diesel vehicles also peaked in June, however, we have since seen it settle in July showing there have been no long-lasting effects.


Trade Me Motors, searches by fuel type, June - July 2021.
Trade Me Motors, watchlists by fuel type, May - July 2021.