Despite a decline in new car sales, electric vehicle (EV) sales are booming and EVs account for over 15% of the new car market. When combined with regular hybrids that share jumps over 30%, one in three new car buyers no longer opt for a gasoline or diesel car.
There are around 45,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads, and so far this year 8,341 battery electric cars have been sold – double the amount of last year. But cost and recharging remain the biggest hurdles to the sale and there is still a long way to go before the numbers seem remotely on track to meet the government‘s target of 845,000 electric passenger cars on the roads. by 2030.
However, there is no doubt that the transition to electric vehicles is underway and car dealerships across the country confirm that a large and growing proportion of new demand is now for electric vehicles.
So, if you are considering replacing a gasoline or diesel car, here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions by consumers. – and the answers:
1 Are electric cars more expensive than gasoline and diesel cars? Yes, you pay extra for new electric cars over gasoline and diesel cars of similar size. An electric version of the Peugeot 208, one of Ireland’s most affordable electric vehicles, starts at € 28,305, while a petrol version costs € 21,570 and a diesel version costs € 25,005. New electric cars are therefore expensive, just like new cars in general, but there are used ones.
2 Will electric cars be cheaper? And if so, when? Yes, the cost of electric vehicles is likely to come down over the next few years and they will reach price parity with gasoline and diesel cars. In the meantime, it should be remembered that, as prices fall, subsidies and government support also decline. For now, you can benefit from up to € 10,000 in VRT subsidies and relief, and SEAI is offering a subsidy of up to € 600 for the purchase and installation of a home charger.
3 What is the range of electric vehicles? Is it sufficient? When it comes to range, you need to be realistic about how much you’re driving. Travel data from the Central Statistics Office suggests that most people don’t stray too far from home; According to the National Travel Survey in 2019, the average trip distance was only 13.7 km. Most new electric vehicles on the market have a range of over 300 km, and many travel 400 km on a single charge.
4 Where can I charge and how long does it take? Most recharging takes place at home or in the workplace and is as easy as recharging a cell phone. Electric cars charge at different rates, depending on the model, but generally an EV will need all night to fully charge on a home charger. There are three types of public chargers: standard chargers take up to eight hours; fast chargers will charge 0 to 80 pc in 30 minutes; and the most powerful will add 100 km in as little as six minutes.
5 How cheap are they to run? The upfront costs of electric vehicles can be high, but it’s the total cost of ownership where electric cars really make sense. On Electric Ireland’s current nightly rate, the cost to fully charge, for example, a Hyundai Kona with a range of 449 km is around € 6, so considerably cheaper than petrol or diesel.
6 What is the difference between electric and electrified? “Electric” and “electrified” mean very different things, but are often used as if they were interchangeable. Essentially, the term electric refers to a car that can be plugged in, so an electric battery or a plug-in hybrid, whereas an electrified car has an electric motor somewhere in the transmission, like a regular hybrid.
7 Will the battery deteriorate like that of my smartphone? According to the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT), an EV battery will typically last the life of the car – 150,000 km. Most car manufacturers warrant batteries for about five to eight years and 150,000 km. In the future, advanced battery technology and manufacturing techniques will continue to improve battery life. If you are buying a used electric car, the battery can be checked at any garage that maintains electric vehicles.
8 Are they really good for the environment? Electric cars may not generate any tailpipe emissions, but the energy sources of the battery, the recycling of its components, and the manufacture of vehicles and batteries contribute to carbon emissions. Obviously, if the energy source to power the car is not renewable, the CO2 emissions will be much higher. In addition, the extraction, refining, transportation and manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries are also of concern as the process is energy intensive and the extraction of many raw materials raises both ethical and environmental issues. An important step is the regulation proposed by the European Commission on batteries. This law, the world’s first on sustainable batteries, aims not only to ensure ethical mining techniques, but also to reduce mining demand by recycling raw materials more efficiently. For the future, potential alternatives to raw materials are being studied, such as the development of a new sodium-ion battery by CATL, a Chinese battery giant.
9 Are electric cars depreciating rapidly? Generally, electric cars depreciate at about the same rate as gasoline and diesel – and similarly, some models retain their value better than others. However, the future depreciation of gasoline and diesel cars will be significantly affected by government policy in the years to come. It’s likely that both will become more expensive to own and use, so electric cars are likely to be more resistant to long-term loss in value.
10 Are we going to have a million electric vehicles on the roads by 2030? There is no doubt that the plan to have a million electric vehicles on our roads by 2030, as confirmed in the climate action plan 2021, is very ambitious, but it is much more achievable today. than it was when it was first mentioned in 2019. Since then, the EU has indicated that it is likely to introduce a similar ban in 2035, sending a clear message to automakers that there is no future for gasoline and diesel on the continent. Automakers are also setting their own dates for gasoline and diesel demise. Both of these developments will have a significant impact on the availability of cars during this decade.
So, should you buy an EV now or should you wait? If you have access to a home charger and can afford a new or used electric car, then it makes sense to take the plunge.