Electric Cars in Ireland – Some Facts and Figures

How Many Electric Cars are there in Ireland?

As at August 2020 – there were just over 17,000 electric vehicles in Ireland.

When we give figures for electric vehicles we mean cars and vans that are fully electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. We do not include hybrids that cannot be plugged in.

According to the SEAI website, there was “over 17,000” electric vehicles in Ireland on the road in 2020 . 

In July 2019 – The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment stated in the Dail that there were 7,647 “electric vehicles on the roads in Ireland at the end of 2018 and 11,700 at the end of June 2019.

On the same day -23rd July 2019 the same minister also gave figures for the numbers of electric Vehicles “under current Motor Taxation“. He stated there were 7071 at the end of June 2019 That is a difference of of 4629 compared to his previous answer . Could it be there are that many electric vehicles registered but not taxed ? Maybe it’s unsold stock in dealers?

We can also look at the numbers of electric vehicles registered according to the Central Statistics Office shown below.
If there were 7647 Evs in Ireland at the end of 2018 – then the extra 9878 registered in 2019 and 2020 so far would bring the total to 17,525 – which is close to the figure quoted by SEAI


Electric Vehicle Registration Figures

YearElectricPlug in Hybrid
2015497123
2016411286
2017664261
20181328727
201938031349
2020 (to end of Aug)27491977
Electric Vehicles Year of First Registration in Ireland

Electric Vehicle Targets for Ireland


The government currently has a target that there will be 936,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030 . This includes battery EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs but not Petrol/Diesel hybrids) . This will be equivalent to one-third of the 2.8 million vehicles that are currently on the road in Ireland.
Ireland has also set itself the target of ending the sale of cars powered just by fossil fuels by 2030.


The Climate Action Plan (June 2019) proposes more incentives for people willing to transfer to Electric Vehicles, including a possible car-scrappage scheme to replace the current EV grants. The action plan aims to have a charging network capable of catering for 800,000 EVs in place by 2030.


Popular Electric Cars

The Nissan Leaf was the most popular Electric Vehicle in Ireland at the end of 2019,followed closely by the Hyundai Kona.
The top 3 most popular makes of new electric cars registered in Ireland in 2020 up to June were 1. Hyundai;. 2. Tesla; 3. Nissan

The popularity of Electric cars in Ireland is growing – but maybe not as fast the government hopes. This could be because people are concerned about limits on driving distances, the initial purchase cost and the perceived inconvenience  (and potential cost) of charging the battery.
The availability of reliable, working charging stations for longer journeys is also an issue.


Here are some facts and figures that might help people make a decision about buying an electric car.


Grants for Electric Cars

There is currently a grant available of up to €5000 towards the cost of buying an battery eectric car. (For commercial vehicles the maximum grant is €3800.)  The maximum grant of €5000 is payable on approved vehicles priced at €20,000 or more. Smaller grants are payable on lower value vehicles. Vehicles priced lower than €14000 do not qualify for a grant.
The maximum grant is €2,500 for new Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEV).

Only new vehicles bought from an approved dealer can qualify for the grant. There are about 110 approved dealers and they handle the grant applications and deduct the grant from the price of the car.

There is also a €600 grant available for electric car owners to help cover the purchase and installation of home charger systems. More information about the Cost of Home Charging Points


How Far Can an Electric Car Travel?


Some models of electric cars can travel around 500km on a full charge. Teslas have the longest range – as high as 560km.
The typical range of most new electric cars is from 250km to 350km.

Nissan says that their Leaf , fully electric car, can travel 250km with a fully charged 30 kWh battery and 378km with the latest 40 kWh battery.
The Hyundai Kona can do 447km on a full charge.

An example of a round trip of around 250km would be to Dublin City Centre from Wexford or Athlone and back.


Prices of Electric Cars in Ireland

Electric cars are often assumed to cost a lot more than “normal” cars.
Compared to conventionally powered cars, the price of a new electric car can be anything from 15% to 50% higher. But with the government grant – the prices can compare quite well.

(Some sample electric car prices below from mid-2020 and they include grant deduction)

  • Audi e-tron €91,750
  • BMW i3 four-seater €35,760
  • Hyundai Ioniq 40kwh €34,850
  • Hyundai Kona 67kwh €38,630
  • Jaguar I-Pace €82,895
  • Kia Niro €37,495
  • Kia Soul €37,495
  • Mini Cooper (four-seater) €27,200
  • Mercedes Benz EQC €81,950
  • Nissan Leaf €30,890
  • Peugeot e-208 50kwh: €27,334
  • Renault Zoe Ze50 Play 56kwh €26,990v
  • Tesla Model 3 €48,900
  • Tesla Model S €89,800
  • Tesla Model X €95,500
  • Volkswagen e-Golf €32,250.


You might save some money by purchasing a second-hand electric car in the UK. 
For some tips on the best way to pay – see or page about Buying a Car in The UK


Do electric cars really save you money?

Electric Car Running Costs:

Fuel


SEAI
estimates that a Nissan Leaf 40Kwh all-electric car driven 16,000km would use 3000 kWh of electricity. and would cost €219 in electricity. (Based on night rates).
Swapping to a night rate tariff means that you pay more for your daytime electricity usage and a bigger standing charge.
More here about Night Meter Electricity Charges

A new Ford Focus petrol car driven 16000km would cost an estimated €1580 in fuel over 12 months. (Based on a price of €1.369 per litre.)

So – compared to petrol costs – this is a saving of  €1361 per year.
This would mean that you would get back the €4000 difference in the purchase price within 3 years.
People who drive more than 16,000 km a year will save even more on fuel costs with an electric car.

Other Running Costs

electric cars in ireland

VRT on Electric cars is Zero.

Motor Tax on a Battery Electric Vehicle is the lowest rate possible which is €120 a year.


Electric Car Servicing Costs


A big difference between traditional and electric cars is that electric cars don’t need nearly as much servicing as traditional cars.  There are much less moving parts, no oil or filters, no clutch, timing belt etc.
A service for a Nissan Leaf should cost from about €120 – a petrol equivalent could cost from around €199 .


Benefit in Kind on Electric Cars

There is an exemption on benefit in kind (BIK) with company electric cars. (due to end December 2021.) A cap of €50,000  applies to the relief.  Typically, if your employer offers you a non-electric company car, you will be subject to BIK on it. This is based on taking 30% of the original market value of the car and then applying income tax to this. So, a car worth €30,000 will cost an employee €2,000 a year in income tax for lower-rate payers, and cost €5,200 for those on the higher rate.

There is no BIK tax on an electric vehicle with an original market value less than €50k . The BIK exemption on electric cars also means the employer won’t have to pay employer’s PRSI of 10.95 per cent on the vehicle.


ESB Charging stations

ESB has developed an island of Ireland-wide charging infrastructure of 1,200 public charge points. (about 900 of these are in the Republic). ESB  state that fast charge points are located every 50km on all major inter-urban routes.  But the problem can be that some of them are out of order. electric car owners have to register and get a card to use the chargers. (Here)  .

Charging Times

At the ESB public charging points, the majority will currently charge at 22kW, taking around four hours to fully charge a typical car.
Over 70 of the ESB charging points use 43kW ‘fast charging’ which can charge most batteries to 80% in around 30 minutes. Not all EVs can avail of rapid charging but can still use rapid chargers at a slower charging rate.

Charging Fees

Charging at all ESB public points was FREE , but some fees were introduced in 2019 . Fees started on the ESB Fast Public Chargers (43kW DC) from 18th November 2019
The standard (22kW AC) public charging network will be free up until August 10th 2020 .

Details of Electric Vehicle Charging Point Charges Here

You can find a map of all the ESB charge points here.


Environmental Impact

Electric cars are not really “zero-emission” – but they are more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel cars and will become more so as the generation of electricity from renewable sources increases to the government target of 40%.

Although fully electric cars are classed as producing zero carbon emissions, some of the electricity they use may have been generated by burning gas or coal.
An increasing proportion of electricity in Ireland is generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar . According to recent analysis from EirGrid, 32pc of electricity demand in Ireland during 2018 was met by renewable electricity.

Toll Charges for Electric Vehicles 

Since July 2018 there is now a discount scheme for electric vehicles with as much as 75% off toll tag charges on the M50 for example.  This could be worth up to €500 a year for daily M50 users . More about the toll discount scheme here

3 thoughts on “Electric Cars in Ireland – Some Facts and Figures

  1. Can you answer this question. How are the batteries disposed of when finished with.

    • Many are reused for energy storage in homes or industry.
      When the battery packs in a lithium-ion-powered vehicle are deemed too worn out for driving, they still have up to 80 percent of their charge retention ability.
      Eventualy – they will be broken up and the raw materials reused.

  2. To make a proper comparison of the pollution involved in Electric versus Diesela and petrol it would be necessary to know the actual volume of oil or gas that is required to produce (say) 1 Kwh of electricity on the national grid? If one knows this, then one can calculate their actual contribution to reduction in pollution. It also has a cost implication for the country, nationally, as the ACTUAL cost of changing to electric (as opposed to grant-aided consumerism) should be known.

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