The latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) revealed that the new car market jumped by 9.9% in February, within that Electric Vehicles (EVs) gained a market share of 41%. It equated to a year-on-year rise of 37.5%.
I read speculation recently that the government is looking at updating its Climate Action Plan. While encouragement will be given to improve public transport, cycling and walking, the fact that EV sales have gained so much momentum is solid evidence that people are taking climate change seriously and that cars and vans can and are embracing the need for change.
The importance of the role of EVs in Ireland’s strategy to address climate change is evident. Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), Ireland’s national sustainable energy authority, makes this clear on its website with its front page headline statement, ‘Electric vehicles are better for the environment, cheaper to run, and are suitable for even the longest Irish journeys.”
New cars are part of the solution, and their growth is feeding through into the used vehicle sector. Based upon the current sales trajectory, by 2026, there are likely to be more EVs in the under 5 age range than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Looking around Europe, we can see a range of ‘carrot and stick’ strategies designed to encourage people to move to an EV, grants and tax breaks on the one hand and clear air zone charges and high taxes for petrol/diesel on the other. The sales momentum here in Ireland and across Europe shows this is working.
I am sure ICE vehicles will be around for many years, but as people move to newer used cars, they will be driving vehicles that are likely to emit less harmful emissions. The most recent ‘Euro 6’ standard vehicles, which apply to new type approvals from September 2014 and all new cars from September 2015, reduced some pollutants by 96% compared to the 1992 Euro 1 limits.
Ireland’s vehicle parc is improving its sustainability credentials, but like so many parts of the broader move to address climate change, it and we as individuals must keep seeking opportunities to improve.
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