Sales of electric car are on the move — but ‘range anxiety’ remains an issue for motorists with half fearful they would run out of power if they make the switch from petrol and diesel.
A survey of 3,000 motorists by the AA has found that almost half — 48pc — were concerned about the driving range of electric vehicles.
However, the AA’s director of consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan, said that despite these fears, advances in electric cars means they have enough power to meet the driving needs of most Irish drivers.
He said: ‘When the technology first emerged, we were talking about cars with very limited mileage range and a real lack of supporting infrastructure in Ireland. However, with the modern EV, the effective mileage range is, broadly speaking, more than enough to meet the driving needs of a typical Irish motorist.
‘While we may not yet be at the stage of having an affordable electric vehicle which could get you from one end of Ireland to the other and back on a single charge, for your average driver who uses their car to commute from home to work or down to the shops an electric vehicle is a perfectly suitable option,’ he said.
Sales of electric cars in the first two months of 2019 almost reached the total number sold for all of 2018. In total, 1,129 electric cars were registered in January and February of this year, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
This compares to 1,233 for all of 2018. The trend differs from that of car registrations as a whole which dropped by 11.1pc for the same period.
However, one in nine motorists have identified a lack of power stations as an obstacle to trading in their ‘gas-guzzling’ automobiles for electric-powered motors.
Electric vehicles are seen as a pivotal part of reducing our emissions and the Government has introduced a range of incentives supporting the purchase of electric vehicles. Last week Environment Minister Richard Bruton said the Government was committed to upgrading the charging network and pledged an additional €10million in funding.
‘The record growth in electric vehicles sales in 2019 demonstrates the willingness of Irish consumers to embrace the change to a lowcarbon future. The Government is playing its part with a wide range of incentives supporting the purchase of electric vehicles and an investment of €10million in a significant expansion of the public charging network,’ he said.
Speaking in the wake of last week’s climate change protests that saw more than 15,000 young people take to the streets, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: ‘Electric cars are really taking off, we need to put in the charging points.’
German motoring manufacturer Volkswagen last week announced it would be unveiling almost 70 new electric models by 2028 as the trend to focus future development on emissions free vehicles accelerates.
Mr Faughnan said that it was undeniable that electric vehicles were the future of the motoring industry.
He remarked: ‘Electric vehicles are very much the future of motoring but we need to look at ways of making them a larger part of the present as well.
‘In order to achieve this, we need to address the concerns motorists have about this technology and increasing the availability of charging points will go a long way towards achieving that.’