The number of electric cars sold in Ireland in the first four months of this year is nearing the total for all of 2021 already, new figures have shown.
To the end of April, there were 8,009 electric vehicles registered, according to statistics released by the Department of Transport, compared to 9,886 for all of 2021.
It is expected the buoyant demand could see this year's figure double in 2022.
The rise in sales comes as the Government hopes to be able to support up to 194,000 cars and vans in the country’s electric charging network by the end of 2025.
The Government’s ambitious Climate Action Plan set a target of just under 1m electric vehicles by 2030.
Achieving a network that can support that many electric vehicles is seen as a challenge, given there were just 1,900 public charging points in the country at the beginning of the year.
Under the Government’s draft strategy, it is expected that 80% of charging is expected to take place at drivers' homes.
The strategy says: “As EV uptake accelerates in Ireland, home charging should remain the most common and easiest form of charging for the majority of vehicle users. This should include provision for people who live in higher density residential blocks, such as apartments, as well as people in residential developments with shared parking facilities.”
Other options being considered are residential on-street charge points, charge points at retail outlets, hotels and tourists sites, on motorways and fast taxi charging hubs.
Currently, a scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland gives households a maximum of €600 towards the cost of a charger.
Similarly, motorists wishing to purchase an electric vehicle can seek a maximum of €5,000 via an SEAI grant.
Statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that in April 2022, the number of electric cars registered in Ireland was double that of the same period last year. While electric car sales are surging, the number of new cars registered in Ireland still lags 20.9% behind pre-Covid-19 levels.
Electric cars are also increasing their market share. The latest SIMI figures show petrol vehicles on 27.23%, diesel on 26.40%, hybrids on 23.56%, electric on 13.02% and plug-in electric hybrids on 7.31%.
Brian Cooke, director general of SIMI, said massive investment at manufacturer level in EVs had managed to increase supply even at a time when the new car market generally is suffering from supply chain problems.
“The continuation of [Government grant] supports over the next two or three years is simply vital if we want to get close to the EV targets outlined in the country’s Climate Action Plan," he said.
Mr Cooke added significant improvements are also needed to the national charging infrastructure to ensure wider take-up of electric cars in the future.