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Electric car sales could push through 5,000 units next year

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 4:12pm

1,400 new electric cars have been sold in Ireland so far this year; a record breaking number. New figures, though, show that could accelerate to more than 5,000 in the same period in 2020, if the trend for electric car sales continues.

According to Electronomous, a car technology conference co-organised by Cartell and Mobility X, the price of electric vehicles (EVs) and the price consumers are prepared to pay has finally aligned.

EV prices have, according to figures from Cartell, settled at a starting point of around €33,000.

Irish consumers are increasingly buying cars at that price level, so Electronomous expects the combination of those two factors to give a serious kick of EV sales in the next 12 months.

“The organisers would expect to see very healthy growth in EVs in 2020,” said a spokesperson for Electronomous.

“More than 3,000 units for the first two months of next year is easily achievable and 5,000 units is not impossible. This anticipates EVs being sold at a value in the low €30,000s and the continuing consumer advance towards buying cars in the €30,000 to €40,000 bracket.

“As Electronomous expect this to be the most popular bracket for new car sales within the next two years this could yield significant growth in EVs over that period as consumers are faced with a like-for-like choice in terms of price knowing that EVs can yield savings down in the line in terms of running costs.”

It’s good news for the hybrid car market too. That’s up by 26 per cent to 4,900 vehicles so far this year, and according to Electronomous, what’s sauce for the electric market is also sauce for the hybrid market, not least because the average value of a hybrid vehicle sold in Ireland so far this year has now reached — you’ve guessed it — around €33,000. Actually, to be precise it’s €33,417.

“The advantage with the hybrid is that it is much closer to what the average consumer is already familiar with and it fends off so-called range anxiety,” said Electronomous. “The case for the EV turns more on the additional environmental benefits a car of this type delivers in terms of its day-to-day performance, and the fact that range anxiety will also become less of an issue as additional battery capacity coming on stream pushes vehicles of this type to deliver more range in the future.”

It seems that desire and demand for electric cars has been building for some time. According to the most recent bi-annual Irish motoring report by classified sales site Carzone, some 61 per cent of Irish buyers have seen their running costs increase in the past 12 months, and that this is potentially pushing them to switch to an alternative-fuel vehicle for their next purchase.

Insurance, fuel, and servicing costs are the most important concerns that these motorists have, and respondents listed lower running costs (45 per cent) and taking care of the environment (40 per cent) as their main reasons for considering an electric or hybrid car.

Car makers still have some educating to do, though — one in four listed fear of the unknown as their main reason for not purchasing an electric car or hybrid.

Of those asked, 60 per cent said that they’re aware of their nearest electric car charging point, and 40 per cent said that it’s within 2km of their front door.

That leaves a worrying 40 per cent who have no idea of local charging points, and a further 60 per cent who said that they were unaware of the €5,000 grant available from the SEAI for buying an electric car.

Equally worrying, one motorist in ten said that they don’t know the difference between an electric car, and a hybrid.

Commenting on the findings, Karl Connolly, audience manager for Carzone said: “This year’s report shows a shift in attitude towards electric and hybrid cars as motorists get to grips with alternative fuels and the benefits they bring. It’s encouraging to see that awareness of alternative fuel cars is high among drivers and they are informed when it comes to the services, like charging points, that are available in their locality.”

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