THE number of people and businesses buying electric cars soared again in July.
They rose by nearly 92pc last month and are now running 195pc ahead of the first seven months of 2018.
However, in terms of volume, numbers remain modest: 2,689 v 912 for the year to date.
The number bought in July increased to 735, compared with 383 for the corresponding period last year, according to SIMI registration data.
But at least they are increasing, unlike new-car buying generally. The SIMI figures show the 192-plate registrations for July fell 8.4pc (24,685) and are down 8pc for the year.
Largely to blame for that was a 16pc surge in the number of used imports (9,384 during July alone). Year to date, they are running 4.2pc (62,505) ahead of 2018 (59,972).
Meanwhile, the top five selling new-car brands this year are: 1. Volkswagen 2. Toyota 3. Hyundai 4. Ford 5. Skoda. And the top-selling models are: 1. The Toyota Corolla 2. Hyundai Tucson 3. Nissan Qashqai 4. Skoda Octavia 5.Volkswagen Tiguan. The Corolla was July’s biggest selling car.
SIMI director general, Brian Cooke, says the surge in used imports is having a major impact on the industry and market. While Brexit is clearly a factor in the increase of used-import buying, our taxation system “overburdens new cars”.
That is forcing motorists to either hang on to their older, ‘smokier’ cars or look to the UK for an older import.
“Over the last three years we have imported 150,000 cars that do not meet the latest EU emission standards.”
He claims that in effect “means Ireland has become the dumping ground for older cars the UK doesn’t want”.
Mr Cooke warns: “This is not only bad news for Irish retailers and their employees, but also bad news for the environment.”
He says the Budget could redress the balance by bringing in taxation changes that encourage people to buy new cars and make older used imports less attractive to purchase.
“We cannot allow Ireland to continue as the UK’s dumping ground for older more environmentally damaging cars, which only improves their environmental performance at the expense of Ireland’s”.