It looks set to be a record year for the sale of electricity-powered vehicles with 1,756 new models registered in the first 11 months of 2014.
It represents a 46% increase on the total sales figure last year for all such vehicles which include electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric types.
Hybrids remain the most popular type of model, accounting for more than 80% of all electricity-powered vehicles sold in the Republic so far this year.
Many motorists are still believed to favour having the choice to switch between electric power and either petrol or diesel amid concerns about the limited daily range of pure EVs without recharging.
The latest figures show sales of electricity-powered vehicles have increased in every county with the exception of Tipperary where sales have remained static.
More than 55% of all new electricity-powered cars are registered in Dublin where 965 have been sold so far this year, followed by Cork which accounts for almost 8% of the total (136). However, sales in Cork this year are still below 2010 levels (167),
Under the Government’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan it is estimated that approximately 50,000 EVs will be in use on Irish roads by 2020 — far short of the original target of 230,000 cares to be electrified which would have represented 10% of the national car fleet.
Currently EV’s only constitute around 0.5% of all new car sales but it is predicted the figure will increase to 15% by 2002.
The EU’s 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets all member states a binding target that at least 10% of the energy used in the transport sector must come from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The Government introduced an Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme in April 2011 to encourage motorists to switch to EVs through offering grants of up to €5,000.
EVs also enjoy VRT reliefs of up to another €5,000 which were extended in the latest budget until December 2016.
The provision of VRT relief on EVs costs the Government an estimated €3m per annum.
Average annual savings for a motorist using an EV who drives an annual distance of 16,000 km is estimated at €797 compared to a diesel model and €1,264 to a petrol vehicle. They equates to savings of 80% or more.
EVs also reduce CO2 emissions by around 30%.
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