• Emer Barry
  • 4 min read

The first three months of 2024 has seen the first ever reduction in EV sales. Emer Barry, SEAI, asks the question why, and examines some potential reasons for this drop.

2023 had the highest sales ever for EVs in Ireland.  There are several reasons for this, that also give context to why EV sales have dropped so dramatically in 2024. 

1. The Pandemic

We might be fed up of hearing about it, but it’s clear that the Coronavirus Global Pandemic had far reaching and long-lasting implications. In the auto industry, it caused supply chain issues which left a pent-up demand for vehicles.  

While 2022 saw a rise in EV sales, the full catch up happened in 2023.  

There was huge growth in BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) registrations in March, May and June of 2023.  

Overall, we saw a 45% increase in BEV registrations in 2023 compared to 2022, with BEVs representing 18% of the market share. This increase is unlikely to be achieved in 2024. 

It should also be noted that all vehicle registrations increased by 16% in 2023 compared with 2022 - again a huge increase. When you compare the first 3 months of 2024 with 2023, there’s only an 8% increase, which reflects a slow down across the board.  

2. Grant Value Changes

In July 2023 the EV Grant available to motorists reduced from €5,000 to €3,500. The reason for this change was to allow for greater investment in our public charging infrastructure.  

This change in the grant amount caused a spike in grant applications by consumers looking to avail of the higher grant value.   

3. Price Changes

At the end of 2023 into 2024, several brands cut the price of their new EVs. This is very welcome news and begins to bring the purchase of new EVs similar to that of a new ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle.  

This had a knock-on effect to the price of used EVs, bringing down the sale price further and making EVs more affordable for potential buyers.  

This price cut did cause some upset to those had purchased a new EV in 2023 (the author of this blog included!) as the depreciation of their vehicle was accelerated. As with any vehicle purchase, the trade in or used price can’t be guaranteed.  

This price uncertainty may give some ‘pause for thought’ if you are considering purchasing an EV but this will really only impact those who change their car every few years.  

Don’t forget that the ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles is due in 2035, under legislation from the EU. The questions is, what will the residual value of ICE vehicles be when this happens? 

4. Early Adopters

EVs have been available in Ireland since 2010.

The early adopters and EV enthusiasts were the first to make the switch from fossil-fuel powered vehicles and are great ambassadors for EVs. We are now in a phase of the “Early Majority”. The choice of EVs available on the Market today is much better and the distance an EV can travel without charging (the range) has also increased massively. This has had a direct impact on the increase in sales.

Also, the continued increase in the public charging infrastructure available is reducing range anxiety and giving people the confidence to make the switch.

Why EVs are still a good purchase

The current narrative and negative comments around EVs is influencing the general opinion of EVs.

The facts are:

  • EVs are cheaper to run - charging at home using the night-time electricity rate is the cheapest way to charge an EV

  • Purchase prices are coming down, which makes the total cost of ownership lower than an ICE equivalent

  • They are better for the environment with no tailpipe emissions 

The number of brands and models is ever- increasing, with over 70 vehicle types now available and more coming to the Irish market this year. Over 12,000 people visited the recent EV Show at the RDS, Dublin, organised by NEVO.

NEVO ran a survey with attendees and it showed that 93% are likely to purchase an EV in the next two years.  

There is no denying it, the appetite for EVs is growing and whatever your views are on the them, EVs are here to stay. If you haven’t taken one for a test-drive, I encourage you to do so.

Just make a visit to your local car dealership and get a better idea of what might work best for you.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.