Sales of electric vehicles soar 470% in the first quarter

CSO figures show big uptick in EV registrations since start of 2019

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) soared by 470 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 as more motorists took to roads in battery-powered cars .

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed there were 1,303 electric cars registered in the first three months of the year, up from 229 this time last year. The three-month total also surpassed the total number of registrations for electric vehicles in 2018.

Despite the leap in sales, the overall take-up of EVs in Ireland remains relatively low by international standards. The quarterly EV total represents just 4 per cent of total new car registrations. Experts link this to cost – basic electric car models start at over €30,000 – and range anxiety.

The uptick in EV sales contrasts with the slump in the traditional car market, which saw 50,861 new private cars licensed, down 13 per cent on the first quarter of 2018.



The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by nearly 5 per cent per cent compared with the same period in 2018. The total number of private cars (both new and used) licensed the first quarter was 76,767, a decrease of 7.6 per cent year on year.

The slowdown in new car sales here is related to the slump in sterling. Motorists here have been taking advantage of the favourable exchange rate to buy used premium models in the UK over new models in the Republic, which has hit sales here.

In the first quarter, Volkswagen (5,907) was the most popular make of new private cars licensed followed by Hyundai (5,597), Toyota (4,953), Ford (4,584) and Skoda (4,085). Together these five makes represent half (49.4 per cent ) of all new private cars licensed during the quarter.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times