SEAI is calling on motorists in the market for a new car to seriously consider making the change to an electric vehicle (EV) in 2021

Private cars, running on petrol and diesel, account for around a fifth of Ireland’s total energy use and the related carbon dioxide emissions, one of the major contributors to climate change.

Encouraging motorists to make the switch Declan Meally, Head of Transport and Communities with SEAI said:

If you’re thinking about getting a new car this year, then make sure you test drive an EV first. You’ll probably be very surprised at the great driving experience. There are now EVs to suit most driving needs, they will save you money and they are helping to change Ireland’s energy use for the better. The number of EVs in Ireland has been doubling year on year, with over 25,000 people having already made the switch. Plus there are more than 1,200 public and destination EV charge points are available, with more being introduced all the time.
Declan Meally, Head of Transport and Communities

A recent study by SEAI found that almost half of drivers are unfamiliar with EVs and how they work and less than a quarter said they would consider an EV for their next car purchase. In response, SEAI has put together the five things that you should know about EVs before you make the decision about your next car. 

1. Electric Vehicles 101

There are three different types of electric vehicle - two types come with plugs and one does not.

  • A battery electric car, or BEV, is powered solely by an electric motor and rechargeable batteries. The batteries are charged by plugging it in to an appropriate charging point at your home or using the national charging network.
  • A plug-in hybrid car, or PHEV, has a petrol or diesel engine as well as an electric motor. The battery can be plugged in and charged like a fully electric car.
  • A hybrid electric vehicle, or HEV, has a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor.  However, the battery can only be charged by the petrol or diesel engine.

2. Leave fossil fuels in the past 

One way we can move away from fossil fuels is to use electricity for transport, making use of increasing amounts of renewable energy on our electricity grid.

Today almost 40% of Ireland’s electricity comes from renewable energy. This means that mile for mile when you drive an EV here it is responsible for 58% less CO2 emissions than an average petrol or diesel car. This figure will continue to improve as we add more and more renewables to our grid.

3. What about range and charging?

Driving range was a legitimate concern ten years ago but now most new EVs can travel over 300 km on a full charge with some tipping the 500 km mark. Most drivers in Ireland only drive 50 km per day so an EV will suit most drivers who will only need to charge the car twice or three times a week.

To charge a battery or plug-in hybrid EV, you connect the car to a charge point using a charging cable. Charging an EV at home is the simplest, most common, convenient, and cost-effective way to go. With a home charger, you charge your car overnight. You’re then ready with a full charge for your journey the next day.

For longer journeys, there is a growing network of 1,200 public charge points and destination charging at shopping centres, workplaces, hotels, gyms, and airports.

4. Purchase Costs versus Running Costs

The initial purchase price of EVs is higher than their petrol or diesel counterparts but the gap is narrowing all the time and with Government grants and tax incentives the EV price difference is relatively small.

To properly evaluate your decision, you must take account of the lifetime cost savings of the car. EVs are over 70% cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars making them more affordable than you think. Maintenance costs are also lower because an EV has fewer moving parts.

5. Take a Test Drive

If you are still not sure if an EV is for you why not book a test drive with your local car dealership once it reopens. Motorists are more likely to consider an EV for their next purchase after a test drive and tend to be more confident that an EV will suit their lifestyle. Most people are surprised and even excited about the driving experience.

SEAI is promoting the uptake of electric cars through the ‘Don't Drive to Extinction, Drive Electric!’ campaign, which is running across radio, print and online. SEAI offer a range of comparison tools, case studies and guidance, and grant supports for EVs and home charging units. For more information and to book a test drive with your local dealership when they have re-opened visit here.