Higher fuel costs are making more and more motorists think about switching to an electric vehicle.
A new survey from AA Ireland finds that just over one-third either have already made the switch or would be interested in doing so, due to the soaring costs of fuel.
Meanwhile, 33% said they were concerned about climate change, 14% said the switch would be a “personal choice” and 9% said an electric vehicle (EV) would be suitable for their driving needs.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, AA Ireland spokesperson Paddy Comyn said EVs remain very expensive – but the fuel crisis is making them look more affordable over the long term.
“Obviously, it’s a great idea to switch but it’s easier said than done,” he said.
“What is highlighted by the survey is that it is fuel prices that are really dictating people’s desire to move towards electric vehicles.
“Previously it had been a choice for people but now people are saying it is actually a greater reason than the environmental reasons. They are saying the increasing price of fuel is now forcing them to look at EVs when they may not have been before.”
He said the average motorists drives about 17,000km a year, which would currently cost them about €2,700 on fuel – up 42% on last year.
“Obviously electric vehicles are still quite expensive, but people are now starting to do the maths and think, OK, this is how much I’m going to be spending just on fuelling it, it’s not going to be getting any cheaper, maybe it is time to switch.”
Mr Comyn said an entry-level EV now costs just €30,000, while a larger SUV car is going to cost you something from the mid- €40,000s to €50,000.
“Second hand prices are good,” he said. “There’s quite a decent amount of choice on second-hand EVs.
“You have to remember there will be a little bit of battery lose at some stage. Some of the batteries will lose a little bit of range but it’s not terrible.
“You can get a Nissan Leaf for €6,000 or €7,000 – now it won’t go very far, you could be down to about 120km or 130km range in that, but if you’re just nipping to the shops or to school you’ll be fine.”
The survey also asked people why they might be hesitant to buy an EV – with 57% citing insufficient charging infrastructure in Ireland.
“We would always say that the easiest and cheapest place to charge is at home,” said Mr Comyn.
“But obviously, if you’re in an apartment block, it’s not that easy. So, there are still limitations. We have about 1,900 public charging points at the moment and it is just not enough.”
He said longer journeys are fine if you are prepared.
“The charging points are getting a lot better,” he said. “The Ionity network, which is a joint venture between some of the larger car manufacturers, has super-fast chargers and they are very good as well.
“So look, for anyone, especially with a longer journey, if you’re buying an EV, you have to make sure that those longer journeys are not every day because it will be a pain – but, on occasion, they’re very doable.”
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