The sale of new electric cars in Ireland took a hit last year, falling from 466 to 392 since 2015; which to some extent mirrors the public opinion of electric vehicles in Ireland. But Joe McCarthy from the Irish EV Owners Association thinks that the market is just experiencing a short term lull.
“It was a bit of a surprise but the figures for January 2017 should be interesting, people would be waiting for 171 registered cars and would be waiting on cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq.”
McCarthy was part of a group that made a presentation to the government on suggested incentives for electric car owners, and thought it was a successful step towards making the country friendlier to electric vehicles. He said that they were looked at Norway, Holland and Estonia as examples of European countries that have embraced zero emission motoring.
“We looked at the likes of Norway, and suggested incentives such as free parking while charging; free tolls and free use of bus lanes. All of these would be inexpensive to implement and could be removed when the critical numbers increase.”
He also said Ireland is ironically one of the countries most suited to electric car ownership. “Ireland is oddly one of the best countries to drive electric because climate is not too hard on the batteries and the average distance travelled is ideal”. He believes that if the charging infrastructure was improved, the uptake of E.V sales would be faster.
He says that charger anxiety is much more a worry than range anxiety, that some charging stations in the country are not maintained or on occasion the charging spaces are blocked by internal combustion engine cars, meaning you cannot get plugged in.
McCarthy believes these moves would be a positive step towards moving away from our dependency on fossil fuels and diesel. And given that Paris, Madrid and Athens are among the cities planning to ban diesel by 2025; and that Renault are considering stopping manufacturing diesel powered cars, this could soon be a trend that Ireland has no option but to follow.