Electric Cars in Ireland – Some Facts and Figures

How Many Electric Vehicles are there in Ireland?

According to the Minister for Transport – in February 2021 there were “around 28,000 Electric vehicles under taxation in Ireland”.
A few weeks later – that figure had risen. On March 24th the minister stated in a written answer that:
There are almost 30,000 EVs under taxation in Ireland which includes almost 15,000 BEVs and almost 15,000 PHEVs as of the end of February 2021.”

BEVs – are Battery Electric Vehicles.
PHEVs – are Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles



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 car in Ireland at the end of 2019 and in 2020.
Renault has claimed the best-selling overall EV manufacturer in Ireland in 2020, following the launch of the Renault ZOE and a massive order of Kangoo EVs for An Post’s electric fleet.

The popularity of Electric vehicles 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 a battery-electric car or a plug-in hybrid. (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.
However, from 1 July 2021 , the maximum grant available to plug-in hybrids will be reduced to €2,500.


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 early 2021 and they include the grant deduction.

  • BMW i3 four-seater €38,110
  • Hyundai Kona 67kwh €38,301
  • Kia Niro €37,634
  • Kia Soul €36,228
  • Mini Cooper €29,659
  • Nissan Leaf 40 €29,384
  • Opel Corsa SC €26,854
  • Peugeot e-208 50kwh: €31,282
  • Renault Zoe Ze50 Play 56kwh €26,990
  • Tesla Model 3 €47,990
  • Tesla Model S €85,990
  • Tesla Model X €94,990
  • Volkswagen Id 3 €32,650
  • Volkswagen Id 4 €42,995.


You might save some money by purchasing a second-hand electric car in the UK.  Especially if it was made in the UK – because there will be no import duty.
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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