What are the incentives to buy an electronic car in Ireland in 2016?

National polices and car manufacturers are preparing for the electronic future of motoring - this article was produced in association with BMW Ireland

What are the incentives to buy an electronic car in Ireland in 2016?

BMW's electronic i3 model

In the not too distant past the idea of mass-produced electronic cars dominating our roads seemed futuristic and far-off, but we are arriving at the day.

The State has set a target of ensuring that 10% of all vehicles on Irish roads are electronic by the end of this decade, that would mean 230,000 cars, and it is offering financial incentives to help Irish drivers to go green.

These vehicles also offer their own economic incentives, Paulo Alves- Managing Director of BMW says that cheap running costs are one of the big selling points for electronic cars.

BMW as recently launched its latest electronic offering, the BMW i3, the group’s first volume-produced model driven purely by electric power.

"Even with a slightly higher initial purchase price the ownership proposition is a compelling one as, in the case of the BMW i3, you can charge the car overnight for as little as €1.90 and that gives you a range of approximately 160 km," Mr Alves told Newstalk.

The Government is doing its bit too, he adds that with this vehicle, "there is the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grant of up to €5,000 and VRT relief of up to €5,000 and a complimentary ESB box for the first 2,000 electric vehicles (EVs) sold in Ireland."

As electronic car become more common, BMW believes that the State can do more, "reducing BIK on hybrids and removing it on pure electric vehicles would be a great place to start," Ireland's BMW boss commented.

He continues, "there needs to be greater certainty going forward on the grant situation. The current system is hopelessly complicated. It should be consolidated into additional VRT relief with a 5-year time frame whereby everyone can see the landscape ahead.If the VRT relief were to be gradually removed over the final 3 years of the programme, then it would encourage customers to commit sooner which would be in everyone’s interest

"If the VRT relief were to be gradually removed over the final 3 years of the programme, then it would encourage customers to commit sooner which would be in everyone’s interest."

You can expect to see more electronic cars coming onto the Irish market, as technology has progressed and manufacturers have put more resources into developing electronic cars, old trade-offs associated with opting for an electronic car are vanishing.

"Electrically powered cars used to be undesirable and unfashionable," Mr Alves says, adding, "That has now changed with cars such as the BMW i3 and i8 people can now have a good looking, practical and stylish vehicle that suits their lifestyle."

While battery life has also been a concern, this has been addressed, "Battery life and range and how the car is charged were concerns but the rapid pace of development and greater understanding that people don’t drive as far as they think means that some barriers that previously existed to electric car ownership have been broken down."

Learn more about the BMW i3 or book a test drive here.