Just 121 new electric cars registered as charging points outnumber vehicles

A mere 121 electric cars have been registered to drive on Irish roads this year.

It is a statistically significant jump from the 23 vehicles registered throughout 2011 and the 48 that arrived on the roads the previous year. However, the registration figures, released by the Central Statistics Office, pale beside the total of 71,619 vehicles registered in the country already this year — and the targets set for the electric sector.

Of the new cars, diesel engines are now far more popular than petrol varieties.

The low electric car sales figures mean there are now hundreds more public charging points in the country than there are vehicles to use them.

And the total number of electric cars bought in the last three years undermines the ambition to have 10% of the national fleet running on electricity by 2020.

According to targets released last year, the Department of Energy had intended to have 6,000 passenger cars using electricity by the end of 2012.

The ESB has committed to maintaining 1,500 public charging points and making 2,000 home charging points available.

The apparently low pick-up revealed in the latest statistics echoes news from the motor industry in America where big-name companies are scaling back on the market due to a lack of consumer demand.

General Motors and Nissan have failed to meet sales targets for their next generation vehicles.

Toyota recently announced plans to drastically reduce the release of its all-electric eQ vehicle.

Honda has limited the release of its Fit EV to 1,100 customers in America over the next two years as US customers move towards hybrid cars, with sales of the Toyota Prius doubling this year.

In Ireland, 559 hybrid cars have been licensed for the first time since January, and 1,189 petrol/ethanol vehicles.

The poor appetite for these cars has been blamed on restrictive driving time between charging and the time taken to power-up batteries.


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