The present study reports the use of one-dimensional carbon wrapped VO 2 (M) nanofiber (VO 2 (M)/C) as a cost-effective counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs); where M denotes monoclinic crystal system. Uniform short length nanofiber was synthesised by a sol-gel based simple and versatile electrospinning and post carbonization technique. The investigation of nanostructure and morphological analysis were performed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), and transmission electron microscope (TEM) with EDAX. The electrochemical response was comprehensively characterized by cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and Tafel polarization. The electrochemical analysis of the VO 2 (M)/C nanofiber counter electrode exhibits significant electrocatalytic activity towards the reduction of triiodide and low charge transfer resistance at the electrode-electrolyte interface. The DSSCs fabricated with carbon-wrapped VO 2 (M) nanofiber CE showed high power conversion efficiency of 6.53% under standard test condition of simulated 1SUN illumination at AM1.5 G, which was comparable to the 7.39% observed for conventional thermally decomposed Pt CE based DSSC under same test conditions. This result encourages the next step of modification and use of low-cost VO 2 (M) as an alternate counter electrode for DSSCs to achieve a substantial efficiency for future energy demand. © 2019, The Author(s).