• Fergus Sharkey
  • 11 min read

Thinking of purchasing an EV? Hear from Fergus, who bought his first EV in 2023. Get an honest, practical and balanced view of what it's like to make the switch and drive an EV as the family car for last 12 months.

If you want to know more about electric vehicles (EVs) and what it’s like to own one, you need to talk to an EV owner to get an honest, practical and balanced view. I expect you will hear a lot of positive comments, but you will also get a much better understanding of the things that you need to be aware of. After 12 months owning an EV, below are my experiences and insights.

The purchase

I purchased my last ever fossil fuel car in 2017, a second-hand 2015 reg Skoda Yeti. It was a great family car.  We decided at the same time to sell our second car. This saved us a lot of money and also meant we used our electric bike and public transport a lot more. When the time came around again to upgrade, (the Skoda had done a flawless 200,000 km at that point) I was determined to switch to an EV. This was driven by both my own personal desire to reduce our transport emissions and all the positive feedback I had heard from other EV drivers. I placed an order in early 2022 but due to global supply chain issues, it was delayed several times and ultimately, I cancelled that order. Not a great start…

In 2023, I placed a new order for an EV and this time it was delivered within a month. Given that we are a one car family, this car had to meet all our needs; we needed good range, lots of space, comfort, and the lowest running costs possible. The car we chose, a Hyundai Ioniq 6, gave us all this and more. I like that it’s not an SUV and therefore is much more aerodynamic and efficient, getting good range for its battery size (100km more than its SUV equivalent). It’s been a full year now since we made the switch and I thought it might be helpful to others considering buying an EV, to share our real-life experiences of owning one.

Milage covered

We’ve done a lot of mileage in 12 months, 20,500km to be exact. Even though neither of us use the car for regular commutes, I take the bike and train to the office and my wife works at home full time, we do higher than average mileage. Although the kids mostly walk or scoot to school, we do a lot of local runs to soccer, swimming, and to visit family and friends. I use the car for work once a month on average, typically travelling outside Dublin and back in the same day. We’re also very much an outdoor family and we tend to jump into the car to go for a hike, the beach, or to visit a park or historic site most weekends. My wife attended college during 2023 and early 2024 and made regular monthly trips from Dublin to Limerick. At Easter, we had a holiday in Scotland and took the car over via ferry from Belfast. Apart from perhaps not having a daily commute by car, we have put our EV through its paces over the last 12 months.

Initial doubts

I will readily admit I had some niggling doubts and I didn’t want to be responsible for paying a huge sum for a car that didn’t work for our family! It was also the first new car I had ever bought, that alone was a big step for me, and it was the first automatic my wife ever driven. I understood that the claimed range would not be the real-world range. I looked at the excellent EV database https://ev-database.org/ to get some real-world expectations and seasonal variations. I was aware that for longer journeys, a small bit of pre-planning would be necessary so I had a good look at the map of EV chargers around Ireland and considered the regular long journeys we take. I also knew that night-time charging would be the most economic. As a relatively well-informed EV newbie, I picked up the sparkly new car and we began getting to know it.

My first impressions

Driving my EV is a nice experience. It’s smooth, quiet and very easy to drive and it’s just a nice place to be generally. Although my two boys have tried their best to make it as dirty and smelly as possible! We’ve found that owning an EV makes you think about efficiency more. I’m a very relaxed driver, so I’ve rarely taken the car out of eco-mode and I tend to try to drive it to get the best efficiency possible (my wife gets even better efficiency than I do!). This means I keep it to 110km on the motorway (which I also did with my Skoda) and try to avoid rapid acceleration and braking. The car works for all our family needs and has reduced our monthly running costs substantially. Very quickly we adapted to plugging in a few nights a week and over time I have  become less aware of the range that the car is at any given day. Personally, the biggest bonus for me is not needing to pump polluting fossil fuels into a vehicle every other week and just how cheap motoring can actually be. I look at the fuel prices on a forecourt sign with a smug smile in recent months. My wife finds the car very pleasant to drive on longer journeys and finds the automatic driving a huge change for the better. She uses public charging more than me and has adapted to including a planned stop on her longer journeys.


The equivalent cost for my diesel Skoda would have been approx €2,200. A total saving of 75% or over €1,600, even with an overseas roadtrip.
Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business, Transport

EV Charging

Having a driveway at home and a home charger is a huge plus. I have a smart meter so I opted for a smart tariff which gives me a super low night rate between 2am and 5am. I charge it 2-3 nights a week on a scheduled charge. I plug in before I go to bed and it charges for those three hours, adding around 21kWh of energy each charge, which is around 150km of range. This costs me approx.. €1.15c currently. 90% of my charging in Ireland has been done at home, mostly on this night rate.

My total cost of motoring for the full year was €553, broken down below.

Charing typeEnergy Used(kWh)Cost

Home Charging (Night)

2365 €146
Home Charging (Day) 200 €87

Public Charging (Ireland)

243 €164
Public Charging (Scotland) 270 €156
Total 3078 €553

The equivalent cost for my diesel Skoda would have been approx €2,200. A total saving of 75% or over €1,600, even with an overseas roadtrip.

But the biggest win for me personally was that we reduced our emissions for transport by more than 75%, reducing from around 3.5 tCO2 to less than 0.8 tCO2. This is using the average annual electricity emissions factor. The emissions savings are likely to have been a lot higher larger as I did most of my charging at night and deliberately charged on windy nights when the renewable share was higher. EVs have a higher embodied emissions than fossil fuel vehicles, so I am well on my way to offsetting that by the time I reach 30,000km https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/how-clean-are-electric-cars/.

My advice to potential buyers

  1. Range: The cars available now, and over the past 3-4 years, have long range and advanced battery technology. 400-500km claimed range is common, with over 700km now available. These cars will meet the needs of almost every car owner. You’re no longer an early adopter if you purchase an EV today, you’re tapping into a few decades of technical innovation and well proven vehicles. This side of the EV ownership equation is very positive.
  2. Driving Style: To get the most out of this range, it’s good to adapt your driving style a bit. This really just means smooth acceleration and braking, and ideally driving slightly less than the speed limit on the motorway. It’s an additional 10 minutes from Dublin to Cork driving at 110kmph rather than 120kmph. In the winter you will get less range than the summer. I would broadly advise reducing the claimed range by 25% will give you a real-world idea of what you can expect with some safety margin built in.
  3. Savings: The running cost savings, and emissions savings are significant, but it is essential that you maximise night-time charging of the EV to capture these benefits. We don’t have solar PV but a few EV drivers I know rave about getting free* charging from the excess solar all summer long (*obviously installing the solar is not free).
  4. Home Vs. Public Charging: The number of times you will need public charging may be far less than you think. We used public charging in Ireland 15 times over 12 months, just over once a month. Over 90% of our charging was done at home. I made return trips from Dublin to Clare, Tipperary and Wexford without needing to charge.
  5. Trust: You become less and less aware of the remaining range on the vehicle and quickly build a trust and understanding of the car and what it can and cannot do. I would say, for longer motorway journeys, my car will safely do about 90% of the claimed range in the summer, and around 75-80% in the winter. For local driving the car will do the claimed range all the time, and more, in my experience.
  6. Public Charging: Public charging remains somewhat complex in my opinion, which I think can put people off. I don’t want this to dissuade prospective EV buyers, but it is good to be properly informed about it. More chargers are being installed all the time. There’s a host of apps, RFID cards and other paraphernalia that you need to have to access public charging. This is fine if you are tech savvy but also introduces numerous things that might go wrong. A seamless charging experience, where you simply plug in and automatically start charging needs to be accelerated for all vehicles and charge point operators.
  7. Speed of Charging: There are a range of factors that influence charging speed including your state of charge when you start charging (20-60% is best), the amount of other chargers in use (as demand management (load sharing) seems to be in place at some chargers), and your target end charge (80% is best). EVs have a non-linear charge curve, so charge best in between 20 and 80%. Counterintuitively, it may be faster to partially charge twice on a journey to get the maximum charging speed.
  8. Planning: Travelling overseas takes some planning. I had to sign up for a ChargePlace Scotland account before I went, which was a bit convoluted. Again, it helps to be confident with apps and technology. Overall, we found the charging experience in Scotland to meet our needs with only one small wobble. You need a plan B. In Scotland we had one poor experience where we arrived at a charger on a long trip and the app, website and contactless payment all failed to work. No harm, we had other options a few 100 metres away, but it’s these little things that can damage the experience and cause concern for people.
  9. Wait times: My wife did more public charging than me and did find she had to wait a few minutes on some occasions for someone to finish on a charger and suggested that you have to have a different mindset on longer journeys and factor in 30 minutes to stop and have a coffee and do some work while charging. When I used public charging, I did so in the main when I was stopping anyway. There’s a mantra of charging when you’re stopped, not stopping to charge that applies here.
  10. In summary: Overall the switch to an EV has been a positive one and I think we now consider oursleves informed and experienced EV owners. Some very minor inconveniences in our lives are worth the economic and particularly the environmental savings that we’ve achieved. The car has worked for our family on all sort of journeys and family adventures. It’s a different type of vehicle ownership experience without a doubt. There is an initial learning curve, so definitely inform yourself before you switch, but make sure you talk to actual EV drivers for your information, they have the lived experience after all!