Electric cars are not an entirely new idea. In 1900, 38% of total cars on the roads in the United States were powered by electricity. This was before the decision to start mass-producing the Ford Model T, launched them into oblivion for almost a century. The current wave of interest in electric cars probably began with the introduction of the Toyota Prius in Japan in 1997.
In Ireland today, there are approximately 3,600 electric cars on our roads, with uptake on the rise. However, it's still not at the rate we would like it to be. We recently asked 1,000 car drivers nationwide about their opinions on electric cars and whether or not they would consider buying one. We wanted to know what barriers are, real and perceived. The results from our research isn’t that surprising as the information out there can sometimes be misleading and out-of-date.
Our research showed that:
- 48% of those surveyed wouldn’t buy an electric car because they were too expensive
- 33% of those surveyed wouldn’t buy an electric car because they couldn’t use them to drive long distances
- 31% of those surveyed wouldn’t buy an electric car because there aren’t enough chargers available
We wanted to look at these common barriers and explain why they’re more myth than reality:
Myth 1: Electric cars are too expensive
Fact: New technologies typically cost more; the first mobile phone cost about €3,000 and only had 6 hours of standby! Electric cars are cheaper to buy than you think, thanks to an SEAI grant of up to €5000 and VRT relief of €5,000. The variety of electric car models on the market is increasing all the time and production costs are being reduced significantly. It’s also important to remember that the lifetime operating cost of an electric vehicle is vastly lower overall.
Some of the cost benefits for electric cars include:
- They require almost no maintenance or repair
- Road tax per year is €120
- Insurance is cheaper
- Drivers will benefit in 2018 from reduced toll charges on the motorway
Myth 2: I can’t drive long distances in an electric car
Fact: Range anxiety is one of the biggest barriers to people buying an electric car. It’s a commonly held belief that electric cars are only suitable for short distance driving but it’s no longer the case. Many of the new electric cars on the market have a range of between 200km and 300km. It’s also worth bearing in mind that approximately 98% of single-trip journeys are under 80km meaning that the majority of charging can be done at home.
You can find out more about electric car ranges in our new Electric Vehicle section
Myth 3: There aren’t enough electric car charging stations
Fact: Approximately 98% of single-trip journeys are under 80km meaning that the majority of charging can be done at home. For longer journeys where charging is necessary, planning is essential. There are currently 1,200 public charge points across Ireland; before setting off on your journey you can use the ESB charge point map to find the charge point most convenient to you.
During the course of 2018 a rollout of an additional fast charging network will commence to increase the current infrastructure
Myth 4: Electric cars take too long to charge
Fact: Another misconception that people may have, is that electric cars take too long to charge. It’s important to remember that most owners tend to charge their car at home overnight, using their 16 or 32-amp home charger over a period of 8 hours. Outside of the home, a fast car charger will charge to 80% full battery capacity within 30 minutes, meaning if you do have to stop on a long journey, you will have just enough time to go for a stroll or enjoy a coffee.
Thinking of making the switch?
Electric cars are now a viable option for many Irish citizens catering to both long and short distance driving. With attractive government assisted grants, zero VRT, generous reductions in running costs not to mention the health and environmental benefits, it’s time for people to seriously consider making the switch to electric. One of the best ways to get a sense of whether or not an electric car is for you is to get behind the wheel of one. A test drive will give you a real sense of the benefits of driving an electric car.
Check out our list of dealers to find the closest one to you in our brand new Electric Vehicle section.