More than one in five cars licensed this year were electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), double that in the first five months of 2021.
According to research by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 21pc of newly licensed vehicles were fully electric or PHEV from January to May, while there was a 9pc drop in newly licensed diesel cars.
Of 58,494 new private cars registered, there were 7,825 fully electric vehicles licensed in the first five months of the year and 4,613 PHEVs. However, petrol or diesel electric hybrids remained the most popular non-conventional cars sold, with 13,800 registered.
CSO statistician Nele van der Wielen said: “Today’s figures from the CSO show the continued growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland. The number of new electric cars licensed has more than doubled from 3,678 in the first five months of 2021 to 7,825 in 2022.”
According to the Department of Transport and the Government’s Climate Action Plan, the target is to have “945,000 EVs on the road by 2030, with 845,000 of these to be private passenger cars.”
Drivers who buy an electric vehicle benefit from incentives worth up to €10,000, plus a €600 SEAI home charger grant scheme, and qualify for the lowest band of road tax (€120 per annum).
This will be complemented by the national EV charging infrastructure strategy over the next five years that will expand the electric car charging infrastructure across the country.
As of December 2021, the Government estimates there are more than 45,000 EVs, including PHEVs, registered in Ireland.
Newly licensed electric vehicles also beat the number of diesel vehicles licensed by almost 6,000 vehicles.
“At the same time the number of new diesel cars is decreasing. For the first five months of 2022, 15,419 new cars licensed were diesel cars compared with 20,032 in the same period in 2021,” said Dr van der Wielen.
According to the Department of Transport, electric vehicles are at least 70pc cheaper to run than diesel or even petrol cars.
The data also shows that there was a stark drop in the number of vehicles newly licensed in 2020, which should come as no surprise considering that was the year the Covid-19 pandemic began. The lowest month was April 2020.
Although the overall number of new vehicles licensed for the first time between January and May of 2022 did increase by 3pc from the same period in 2021 (an increase of 2,479 vehicles), used vehicles licensed fell.
In the first five months of 2022, the number of used imported vehicles licensed dropped by almost half when compared to the same period in 2021. In context, that is a difference of 18,038 vehicles.
The CSO noted that the data may be skewed by vehicles that were registered by dealerships in advance of a sale, and vehicles that do not need to be licensed due to not being used in a public space, such as tractors on farmland.