The switch to electric motoring is accelerating on the back of higher fuel prices. According to the Central Statistics Office, electric and plug-in hybrid cars has accounted for more than a fifth of all new vehicles licensed in the State this year, the highest level to date.
The agency’s latest vehicle registration figures show the number of new electric cars licensed here jumped by almost 80 per cent to 10,105 during the first seven months of 2022.
At the same time the number of new diesel cars fell. A total of 20,931 new cars licensed during the seven-month period were diesel compared with 27,754 in the same period in 2021. The figures also point to a dramatic fall-off in used private car registrations, which fell by 40 per cent to 27,372.
The period coincided with a surge in the price of petrol and diesel, which rose by 44 per cent and 51 per cent respectively, to more than €2 per litre.
The European Commission has set ambitious plans to cut vehicle emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and by 100 per cent by 2035, a target that involves a complete ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine cars within 13 years.
Experts believe this is one of the more achievable goals as most European carmakers have centred their industrial strategies around greener motoring and the adoption of electric vehicle (EV) technology.
The EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans said recently that the car industry’s approach had “changed completely” as the sector invested in low emissions battery technology.
The CSO figures show that, overall, new vehicle registrations for seven-month period fell by 3 per cent to 77,346.
Toyota, which accounted for 2,592 vehicles licensed in July, continued to be the most popular make of new private cars followed by Volkswagen (2,084), Hyundai (1,831), Kia (1,098) and Skoda (1,080). Together, these five marques represent almost three-fifths (58 per cent) of all new private cars licensed in July 2022, the CSO said.
Commenting on the data, the CSO’s Nele van der Wielen, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO show the continued growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland.”