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Declining Enthusiasm for Electric Cars in Ireland..

DUBLIN: In Ireland, public enthusiasm for electric cars appears to be waning as hybrid vehicles gain dominance in the market. This trend is emerging despite an overall increase in car sales, which includes hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and conventional petrol and diesel vehicles.

Battery Electric Car Sales Drop by 22.72%

While total car registrations in the country rose by 5.95%, sales of battery-electric cars plummeted by 22.72%. Data from the Society of Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) indicates that the market for battery electric cars has stagnated, based on trends observed in the first quarter of this year, from January to April. Additionally, there is a noted decrease in demand for diesel hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

Impact of Price Drops

A significant drop in the prices of new electric vehicles, driven by competition among Tesla, Chinese companies, and other manufacturers, has negatively impacted sales. This price war has caused new EV prices to plummet, leading to a reluctance among used car dealers in Ireland to stock them. Furthermore, car rental companies such as Hertz, which had invested heavily in purchasing these vehicles, have faced financial setbacks as plummeting prices have reduced rental demand.

Battery Life Concerns

Battery life remains a critical concern affecting the electric vehicle market. Early models, such as the 2011–2017 Nissan Leafs, used manganese-based battery technology, which, despite being safe, often required expensive battery replacements due to limited longevity. Newer models since 2018 use more durable nickel-based batteries that offer better energy density and longer lifespans, with warranties extending from eight to ten years. Nonetheless, consumer apprehension persists, exacerbated by frequent advancements in battery technology.

Challenges of Charging Infrastructure

Battery charging infrastructure poses significant challenges, particularly for electric car owners living in apartments, city streets, and for those undertaking long-distance travel. The availability and reliability of charging stations remain problematic in many areas. While fast chargers are often seen as a solution, there are concerns that their frequent use may damage batteries and reduce their lifespan. The current high price of electric vehicles, around 40,000 euros, is also a deterrent. Experts suggest that these factors collectively hinder the growth of the electric vehicle market.

This combination of price fluctuations, battery concerns, and infrastructure challenges contributes to the observed decline in enthusiasm for electric cars in Ireland.

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