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Cork Independent

Motors

Electric car sales in Ireland continue exponential rise in 2019

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 4:34pm

Electric vehicle (EV) sales have surged in the early part of 2019, with 330 battery-powered cars sold in February, as compared to just 72 sales in the same month last year.

In fact, with electric car sales now standing at 1,129 for the year so far, we’ve almost already surpassed the total number of electric car sales for the whole of 2018 (which was 1,233).

Sadly for the Irish car trade, the electric sales blip is the only bright spot in an otherwise depressed picture.

Overall car sales in February were down by 11 per cent compared to February 2018, with 15,128 cars sold. Combined with January’s figures, the market for new cars has fallen by 12 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Commenting on the overall figures Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General Designate said: “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, which increased by 542 per cent this year compared to last year, and by the end of this quarter we will have sold more new EVs than in the whole of last year.

“This increase is a result of a concerted effort by all stakeholders; by the industry in supplying more, new EVs with greater travel range; by the Government through the generous taxation and other incentives; and by SEAI with their grant scheme. Ireland’s transition to a zero emitting fleet will take a number of years to happen, but the co-operative approach by the industry and the State thus far bodes well for the future.”

The Government has been quick to claim its part in the rise in EV sales. Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “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 is playing its part with a wide range of incentives supporting the purchase of electric vehicles and an investment of €10m in a significant expansion of the public charging network. The environmental benefits, longer range and low running costs of modern electric vehicles make them a viable option for all consumers. I would encourage all those purchasing a new car to play their part in making Ireland a climate leader and choose to drive electric.”

The number of imported cars also fell, but only by a fractional amount — down by 0.4 per cent compared to February last year, with 8,861 vehicles imported, the vast majority of those coming from the used car forecourts of the UK. The continuing Brexit-led depression of the value of sterling is continuing its havoc-wreaking on the Irish car market.

Volkswagen is the number-one selling car brand right now, followed by Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, and Skoda.

The Hyundai Tucson is still the best-selling car, with the Nissan Qashqai in second place, followed by the Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Ford Focus. Hyundai also holds the top sales spot in the electric vehicle market, with the long-range Kona in the number one position. With 425 sales so far this year, the Kona EV is just ahead of its biggest rival, the Nissan Leaf, which has picked up 401 sales so far.

According to data from motorcheck.ie, the Ford Focus is currently the best-selling imported model, followed by the Volkswagen Golf, BMW 5 Series, Volkswagen Passat, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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