New car sales in Ireland are down more than 12% at the start of 2019, but EV sales are up sharply so far. In January and February, the number of electric cars registered in Ireland has almost equaled total sales in 2018. There were 1,129 electric cars registered in January and February, compared with 1,233 cars sold last year, according to statistics released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
That is still a small percentage compared to the total market and it’s a small sample size to be sure, but electric car sales so far this year are up more than 500% on a year-to-year basis. Shane O’Donoghue, editor of Complete Car, a motoring website, tells The Sunday Times improvements in the range of electric cars and a greater choice of models was convincing more people to buy them. “The public is falling out of love with diesel,” he said.
According to the Irish EV Owners Association, the Hyundai Kona EV and Nissan LEAF are leading the Irish battery electric vehicle market. In February, BEVs had more than a 2% share of the new car market in Ireland, led by the Hyundai Kona EV and Nissan LEAF.
Those two vehicles had more sales than all other battery electric vehicles combined. Here’s the BEV leaderboard for January and February:
Notice that the Renault Zoe is doing poorly compared to the two top sellers despite its low price and long range.
In the world of commercial vehicles, the Renault Kangoo is a popular choice for tradespeople and delivery companies. In Ireland, most of them are powered by diesel engines, but in 2018, the BEV version of the Kangoo accounted for 5% of sales, helped no doubt by an increase in battery size from 24 kWh to 33 kWh.
Are the total number of electric cars on the road in Ireland still quite small? Yes, they are, but the trend is sharply upward. Since diesel-powered vehicles have ruled the marketplace in Ireland for decades, each one of those electric cars likely means one less smelly, pollution-spewing diesel engine plying the highways and byways of Eire. That’s good news for us all.