Sunday 21 July 2019

Electric and hybrid car licenses increase nearly 70pc in first six months - but climate change targets still far off

Powering up: Politicians have ambitious targets for electric cars. Stock picture
Powering up: Politicians have ambitious targets for electric cars. Stock picture

Evie Kearney

The number of newly licensed electric and hybrid cars has increased by almost 70pc, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The total amount of new private cars licensed between January and June was 77,639 - a 6.5pc decrease compared with last year.

Electric and hybrid cars accounted for 9,150 of these, representing a 68.5pc jump in licenses. New licenses for alternative fuel cars for the first six months of this year have already surpassed the total amount of new licenses granted in all of 2018 by 583 vehicles.

Hybrid cars - which usually combine a traditional petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor - remain the most popular choice in alternative fuel for motorists, with 7,207 licensed for the first time in the past six months.

Of these, 2,845 were licensed in Dublin. Elsewhere, hybrids experienced the highest volume of new licenses in Cork (1,011), Galway (335), Kildare (276) and Meath (274).

Fully electric cars are enjoying a rise in popularity too - the number of newly-licensed electric cars in the past six months has already surpassed the 12-month total for 2018 in each individual county.

The CSO also found that five car manufacturers - Hyundai, Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen and BMW - account for 93.4pc of all new licensed electric cars while Toyota represented 82.8pc of all new hybrid cars.

Proportionally, Wicklow had the highest increase in new licenses for electric vehicles (4.7pc) while Longford had the highest increase in hybrids (14.6pc).

The Government's Climate Action Plan has previously set a national target to have a million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030 - and to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, with no one permitted to own one at all by 2045.

For now though, traditionally fuelled cars still remain the clear top choice for motorists, with 37,002 diesel and 31,487 petrol private cars licensed so far in 2019.  

The figures are based on licenses as opposed to registrations, the CSO advised. A vehicle is licensed when it receives a motor tax disc for the first time, whereas it is registered when it gets its licence plate.

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