Sales of new electric vehicles in Ireland hit record highs for the first half of 2021, with more than double the amount of EVs hitting the road compared to the same period in 2020.
The Society of Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) recently published sales data for the first half of the year. Overall, new car sales have increased 21% compared to the first six months of 2020.
However, when compared to an equivalent pre-Covid-19 period in 2019, sales are 21% lower, despite the Irish motor industry responding quickly to restrictions by offering new ways to do business, such as Click & Collect and virtual viewings.
Hidden within the overall numbers is a hugely positive trend demonstrating how Irish drivers are embracing electric vehicles as the shift from fossil fuel-powered cars continues to accelerate.
Most cars sold are still diesel (36%) and petrol (32%) but their market share is reducing, with more consumers opting to purchase electric cars.
Sales of EVs were 8,498 until end of June. That’s a huge 178% increase on the same period last year. This figure is a combination of 4,333 EVs and 4,165 plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs).
Battery Electric Vehicle Sales: Jan – Jun 2021
The increase in EV sales. Why now?
The shift to electric vehicles could be driven by a combination of reasons:
More choice of EVs from more car manufacturers. The market is evolving rapidly as manufacturers race to launch more EV models as real alternatives to their petrol and diesel-powered stablemates.
The real-world driving range of the latest EVs removes a large amount of range anxiety previously experienced by customers considering electric driving. The ability to drive up to 500km on an island as small as Ireland gives people the confidence to make the switch to EV.
The lower cost of owning an electric vehicle is better understood. The price paid for electricity to charge an EV, either at home or using public charging, is up to 70% cheaper than filling with petrol or diesel, according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. In addition to lower cost of driving, electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain compared to diesel or petrol for a very simple reason – they have fewer moving parts maintain.
The public charging network is also improving. ESB is currently undertaking a €20m investment programme to expand and enhance the public EV charging network. ESB aims to deliver 50 high-power hubs as it continues to invest in the upgrade of its charging infrastructure. Under the Climate Action Fund project, ESB has already installed seven high-power hubs allowing three EVs to charge at one time, has replaced over 590 charge points and upgraded 31 chargers to faster speeds. There are now over 1,350 reliable ESB charge points across the island of Ireland ready for when you need them.
So who are the big players Irish EV drivers should know about?
Having first launched the Nissan Leaf EV model in Ireland 10 years ago, it is the most popular electric car among EV drivers in Ireland with over 6,000 on Irish roads. Nissan are now applying their EV expertise to Ariya, their new all-electric SUV which is expected to launch in Ireland by end of 2021. With SUV being the car of choice in recent years, Ariya is sure to be a success in a segment where they have proven form with the Qashqai SUV.
Launching its first ever car just 13 years ago, Tesla has become the most valuable car brand in the world. Operating from a single Irish showroom, Tesla took the second spot among Irish EV owners in the first half of 2021 with 586 Irish EV drivers taking delivery of Model 3.
As the top-selling EV brand in 2021, Volkswagen has two hits on its hands with the ID.3 and ID.4 models. As bestselling car brand overall for the last two years and a nationwide footprint of dealerships, EV drivers are choosing these electric models over the similarly sized Golf and Tiguan models.
Hyundai, Kia, Skoda and Ford all have exciting plans to launch new electric vehicles in the second half of 2021.