Why are we so slow at adopting electric cars?
We’re usually quick off the mark when it comes to embracing new trends.
But when it comes to adopting electric vehicle driving, Ireland is seriously lagging behind the curve.
Although sales of EVs rose to 622 in 2017 – up from 392 the previous year – the number represents only a fraction of total vehicle sales, a paltry 0.47 per cent. And in January of this year, sales actually fell by almost 40 per cent, with only a measly 104 sold.
So, why are Irish drivers so slow at getting with the electric vehicle programme? According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), it’s down to “many misconceptions” about electric vehicles.
To counter these, the SEAI this week launched a new information hub which it hopes will boost sales.
Irish drivers’ fears about electric cars are driven by three things: range, charging and cost. Range anxiety is still rife, with drivers worrying that they wouldn’t be able to travel the length of the country on a single battery charge. They’re also worried that the availability of charging locations is not keeping pace with sales of electric vehicles. But the biggest bugbear is cost. Irish drivers reckon it’s just too bloody expensive to go electric.
SEAI chief executive Jim Gannon says electric cars are “no longer just a progressive, environmental fad”.
In fact, he says, going electric will be a smart move, with a number of grants available to motorists and businesses and a wider choice of electric vehicles on the market at reasonable prices. Range anxiety has also been tackled, with the average EV capable of going 200km without needing a recharge.
The SEAI plans to hold a series of roadshows in the coming months, where people can test-drive electric vehicles, such as the highly touted new Nissan Leaf (pictured), and get information on the financial incentives available, including purchase grants, zero per cent benefit-in-kind and home charger installation grants.
Soon, driving electric cars will be the “new normal”, says Gannon.