Drivers in Ireland are increasingly forgoing the more traditional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles in favour of electric cars, according to new statistics. In February, the quantity of new electric cars registered was 330, as opposed to the 72 recorded in the same month last year. In addition, the sale of electrically powered vehicles for 2019 to date has increased by over 500 per cent. This hike in electric car sales is in stark comparison to overall new vehicle sales, which fell by over 11 per cent year-on-year in February.
Top makes and models of electric car, such as the Hyundai Kona electric and Nissan’s LEAF, are currently the most popular on the Irish market - with offerings from Renault, BMW and Volkswagen following further behind.
Brian Cooke, director general designate from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry commented: “With Brexit looming, new vehicle registrations continue to be negatively impacted across nearly all of our Industry. However, the one exception is the sales of electric vehicles.”
Good for the consumer and great for the environment
Traditionally, diesel has been Ireland’s favoured source of power where vehicles are concerned. This spike in electric car sales shows a potential change in direction, indicating that these vehicles are now becoming a more viable alternative for drivers.
Commuters and travellers using electric cars can take advantage of affordably low running costs. Electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Tesla and Hyundai, are continually developing technology that affords their customers a longer range along with a more convenient service in terms of recharge time.
The government is encouraging the buying of electric cars in Ireland with an extensive list of incentives, including a grant scheme and favourable taxation. It has also invested €10 million in the growth of a charging network for public use.
Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton stated: “The record growth in electric vehicles sales in 2019 demonstrates the willingness of Irish consumers to embrace the change to a low carbon future.”
The government’s aim of making Ireland’s vehicles zero emitting in the future is still some distance away. However, the increase in electric car sales along with the cooperation of both the state and automakers working in conjunction to achieve this ambition is a positive sign. It is likely that the trend towards greater takeup of electric vehicles will continue.