THIRTY-one electrive vehicles (Evs) were sold in Kildare in January according to the latest stats from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), a big jump from just two in 2018.
It’s a similar situation across the country – while overall registrations have dropped, 811 EVs were registered this January, more than the entirety of 2017.
With registrations in the low thousands over recent years, EV numbers are still quite low across the country. However, there’s a clear rise in interest as the latest figures for both Kildare and Ireland demonstrate.
Part of the reason is undoubtedly greater awareness of their benefits of EVs, with quite a few reasons why drivers should make the switch. EV owners can avail of the lowest tax bracket (€120 per annum), up to €10,000 of a grant and VRT relief, a grant of up to €600 for a home charge point, and a full tank of electric juice for around €2 based on overnight rates and about twice as much otherwise. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) estimates that you can reduce your fuel costs by 74% compared to a similar diesel-powered car.
One of the biggest barriers for prospective drivers is range anxiety – the fear that your EV might whir to a stop far from a charge point. However, most daily trips can be easily completed well within the range of an EV and, for longer journeys, a little planning can go a long way.
If it helps, last year polar explorer Marek Kaminski completed a 13,000km trek from Poland through Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, China and South Korea in the 40kWh version of the Nissan Leaf (with a range of around 270km, though this can vary), finishing in Tokyo, Japan. That makes a trip between Castledermot and Leixlip seem like a doddle, but it’s fair to say that tackling reliability concerns (a quick scan of ESB’s charge point map shows a few Kildare points which are marked as out of service) and adding more quick charge points to Ireland’s charging network would be a big boost for prospective owners.
Purchase price is also a concern, but the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Renault’s Zoe are available for under €30,000.
More can undoubtedly be done from an official standpoint to encourage and streamline EV ownership. For example, a recent article in The Irish Times recounted the issues some EV drivers have been experiencing over “promised discounts on motorway tolls”, which it said are either being held back or not applied correctly, while issues regarding the charging network must also be tackled.
Still, for a growing community of drivers, EVs are the right choice to suit their lifestyle. Aleksei Jusev, based in Athy with his family, spoke about his experiences with a Leaf in a Nissan Ireland campaign last year. He said that they are saving at least €200 a month in fuel costs without restricting their mileage.
“I did 10,000 kilometres in the car in the first two months. That cost us €100 in electricity, or 1 cent for every 10 kilometres,” he said. “If I drove the same distance in my old petrol car we would have had to fill it up 12 times. That would have cost us €840.”