• Ireland
  • Caoilin Rafferty

Thinking of buying an electric car? We spoke to people who bought an electric vehicle this year to tell us their views on driving an electric car in Ireland

Electric Car Review

Sales in electric cars for 2018 have already surpassed the total for 2017 as more and more drivers are becoming aware of the benefits of switching from their old petrol or diesel vehicles. Drivers can save up to €10,000 through SEAI grants and VRT relief when purchasing an electric car, while they can also reduce fuel costs by up to 74%.

Martin Daly from Mullingar in County Westmeath bought a Nissan Leaf in June of this year: “People were saying why did you buy it this year; why don’t you wait for the longer range but I was thinking how long do you wait?”

Martin and his wife went for a test drive in an electric car in 2017 and from that experience, he knew he had to bite the bullet. "I am surprised there isn’t more of them around," he says. "Everyone who looks at it is very impressed but convincing them to change over is a different story."

In the Daly household, whoever is doing the most driving takes the electric car. Although they both work in Mullingar, the farthest away they have driven is to Cavan. “It’s surreal to think of what you’re driving, I would like to think it would take off fast [Electric Vehicles] but in a way it’s our little secret.”

Martin thinks that living in the Midlands is ideal for an electric car driver, as it is the halfway point to most parts of Ireland. “It’s not cheap to get an electric car don’t get me wrong but once you have it, it’s very cheap to run," he adds.

There are currently over 1200 public charging points installed by ESB around the island of Ireland. A fast charge station at a motorway takes approximately 20 minutes to charge a car to 80% capacity.

Laurance Veale commutes to Dublin each day from Dundalk with his wife. They had two cars at home but with one nearing the end of its life and needing a yearly NCT they decided to upgrade this year: “We were originally thinking hybrid but then we just went for the electric, it just made sense."

Laurence was spending €70 every three to four days on diesel, so after buying a Hyundai Ioniq he is now saving on tolls and fuel. “I'd say our main immediate benefit is cost savings, but I'm also happy with the zero emissions.”

One of the main disadvantages for Laurence is that his place of work does not provide an electric point, which means he has to stop to charge the car on the way home. “The public charging network can be strained…and, at times, we have to wait 10-20 minutes before someone else finishes," he says.

Range when driving an electric car

While some drivers are unlucky with range, Nicky Deacon from Wexford is managing to drive from Courtown in Wexford to Dublin and back on one charge. For Nicky, buying an electric car was a “spur of the moment thing”.

She was replacing her Hyundai i30 for her 25th wedding anniversary and, after a trip to her previous garage, the salesman told her after she asked about a Hybrid: “If you are going to go electric, you might as well go the whole way.”

Nicky came home with a Hyundai Ioniq in April 2018 and now says she “just loves it”.

Nicky travels to Dublin three times a week to the hospital where she works. She used to spend €60 a week on diesel and that has dropped down to €8.82 in electricity spend according to her online calculations.

Oliver Herbst, originally from Germany but living in Limerick, has also recently made the switch. “From having no clue about electric cars in December, here I am now with one in June," he says.

Oliver drives twice weekly from Limerick to Dublin for work. He was spending €165 a month on diesel but after he bought a Premium SE Ioniq he has now saved on his commute.

Oliver describes driving an electric car as a “great adventure” that brings the fun back into driving again. He also believes that Ireland is an ideal location for expanding the electric car market because it is an island: “I don’t know anyone with an electric car in Germany and I would not have bought one if I was living there because the distances are much farther apart compared to Ireland."

While Oliver is a little concerned over the retail value of his car in the future, he insists: “I will never go back to a manual, I just couldn't… My partner drives a Land Rover, which is quite thirsty and expensive and she is also thinking her next car will be an electric."