Latest Irish Electric Vehicle Sales underlines challenge to meet Climate Targets

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Commenting on the latest electric vehicle sales in Ireland, Geotab Vice President, Ireland & UK, David Savage said: “The latest figures underline the fact that there is little hope of the Irish Government achieving its ambition of having 940,000 EVs on Irish roads by 2030. Even though 1,441 EVs* were sold during the month of June, the only way the target could be reached is if 12,000 EVs were purchased every month – the equivalent of the entire car market switching to electric vehicles overnight.”

“The transport sector currently accounts for 18% of Ireland’s carbon emissions, with Government targets to reduce the sector’s emissions by 50% by 2030 under sectoral emission targets as part of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently highlighted** that Ireland is set to miss these targets, with the transport sector on track to be one of the industries furthest from its sectoral ceiling in 2030.

“The devil is in the detail of EV sales, as the general public is leading the charge in terms of the decarbonisation of the transport sector, with the business community and public sector dragging their feet. The sales data highlights that a key issue in achieving the goal is the lack of interest of the business community to switch to EVs. For example, sales of electric light commercial vehicles only account for 2.6% year-to-date***, with petrol and diesel vehicles accounting for a mammoth 97% of sales in 2023 thus far**. The question has to be asked – why? The reasons we are consistently hearing are cost and range anxiety. The Government simply has to provide targeted incentives and grants for businesses to make the switch and install infrastructure on their premises.

“What is most concerning is the lack of investment by the Public Sector in the EV transition. Only 3.8% of all State-owned vehicles (482 out of a total of 12,538) were electric at the end of 2022****. The lack of infrastructure and range anxiety appear to be a key factor, with the likes of An Garda Síochána stating that ‘the issue of Charging Infrastructure became a challenge to progress.’*****

“Beyond the environmental benefits, public sector bodies could also benefit from a lower total cost of ownership by switching their fleets to fully electric vehicles. A recent Geotab study – Profitable Sustainability: The Potential of European Fleet Electrification – reviewed the operational cost and environmental impact of traditional petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles (including passenger vehicles, SUVs, minivans and light-commercial vans) and compared them with their battery electric counterparts. According to the study, six in ten Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles analysed as part of the study were considered suitable to switch to an EV alternative today and fleet managers could expect to see average savings of €9,508 per vehicle over a seven-year period.

With an EU ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles looming from 2035, the time for the business community and public sector to act is now. Delaying their EV transition will only prove problematic in the long term as demand for right hand drive vehicles continues to increase, with EV sales in the UK set to outstrip sales of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2025. Given the pressures to deliver on sustainability goals and to cut costs due to inflationary pressures across the board, there has never been a better time to make the switch due to the lower long term total cost of ownership and running costs associated with EVs.”