New car registrations -10.3% in September; Electric Vehicle Sales Underlines Need For Intervention To Reduce Ireland’s Transport Emissions

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The Society of the Irish Motor Industry has released their official 232 new vehicle registrations statistics for September. 

New car registrations for the month of September were down 10.3% (5,669) when compared to September 2022 (6,318). Registrations year to date are up 16.5% (118,369) on the same period last year (101,587).

Light Commercial vehicles (LCV) are up 15.4% (2,021) compared to September last year (1,751) and year to date are up 30.6% (27,220). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are showing a decrease for September of 17.1% (155) in comparison to September 2022 (187). Year to date HGVs are up 27.0% (2,375).

Imported Used Cars seen a 0.1% (4,328) decrease in September 2023, when compared to September 2022 (4,333). Year to date imports are up 2.5% (38,339) on 2022 (37,417).

For the month of September 1,493 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 1,851 in September 2022 (-19.34%). So far this year 21,707 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 14.510 (+49.6%) on the same period 2022. 

In September, the car market share grew, with petrol retaining the largest share at 30.39%, Diesel accounting for 22.18%, Hybrid 18.64%, Electric 18.34%, and Plug-in Electric Hybrid 8.21%. Battery Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrids and Hybrids now see their combined market share (year to date) at 45.19%.    

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General commenting: “While the new car market has shown strong growth so far this year, the drop in new car registrations for September, a 10.3% decrease on the same month last year, is a concern. New electric vehicle registrations declined by nearly a fifth when compared to September 2022, and while some of this is due to changing supply chain dynamics, there is a fear that there could be a softening in EV growth. As the demand curve for EVs is moving out of the early adopter phase, the next cohort of EV buyers will inevitably be more price conscious. With Budget 2024 only a week way, SIMI again calls on the Government to maintain EV incentives at current levels. This includes retention of the 0% Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) thresholds, and extension of both VRT relief and the SEAI purchase grant relief. In addition, with the new car market still in recovery mode, there should be no taxation increases that would dampen new car demand, and at the same time more funding should be allocated to support the roll out of a reliable charging infrastructure. Now more than ever is the time to invest in the electric vehicle project to ensure that the right measures are implemented to encourage behavioural change as quickly as possible.”      

Government must continue EV supports in Budget 2024

Commenting on September’s electric vehicle sales in Ireland, Geotab Vice President, Ireland & UK, David Savage said: “The latest sales data from SIMI underlines the need for intervention in next month’s budget in order to drive further momentum behind electric vehicle sales if the Government wants to achieve its targets for reducing transport emissions. Despite the increasing adoption of EVs, the progress being made is still coming up short.

“The Department of Transport’s own projections estimate that there will be only 416,000 EVs on Irish roads by 2030, less than half of the Government’s ambition of having 945,000 EVs at that stage. Given that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reported that transport was the only sector where emissions rose last year, zero emission vehicles are the key factor in bringing about a reduction.

“We believe that the Government needs to look at a combination of interventions in Budget 2024 in order to incentivise higher EV sales, while also targeting specific segments in the market like light commercial vehicles (LCVs) that are not making the same level of transition as the general public. The recent decision in the UK to push back the phase-out of gas and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030 to 2035 means that it is highly likely that continued supply of right-hand drive ICE vehicles will mean that many fleet managers will delay their decision to transition to EVs for another procurement cycle. Without any intervention, there will be no change to the glacial rate of EV adoption that we are seeing in the SIMI data, with today’s figures showing that electric LCVs only account for 3.17% of sales year-to-date.

“Apart from restoring subsidies to their previous levels, the Government could consider offering free road tolls for specific vehicle categories like Light Goods Vehicles or introducing an enhanced capital allowance scheme for purchase of EVs that would enable businesses to write off 100% of the cost against the taxable income for the year that it was purchased. There is also merit in setting aside ring-fenced funding for the purchase of EVs by public sector bodies in light of electric vehicles only making up 3.8% of all State-owned vehicles (482 out of a total of 12,538) at the end of 2022.”