What You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles in 2023
Electric vehicles have never been more popular, offering drivers lower maintenance costs, car tax and fuel charges. In fact, sales of electric vehicles in Ireland jumped by 81% in 2022.
There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking of buying an electric vehicle (EV), and the information changes quite regularly. At Liberty Insurance, we work hard to stay up to date with industry trends and our research tells us there’s lots going on in this busy market. So, should you be looking for an EV in 2023, we’ve rounded up three key points to keep in mind.
There’s never been a wider range to choose from
For a long time, our choices were limited when it came to EVs but the last couple of years have seen a huge increase in the range, with “five times more models in 2021 than in 2015”, according to the International Energy Agency. They estimate that there are now over 450 electric car models available globally.
While only a selection of those will be available on Irish forecourts, the increased range means that more customers will be able to find what they need at competitive prices. That could include a compact city car, a family-style people carrier or a large-bodied SUV.
Research from the Central Statistics Office found that “of new electric cars licensed in 2022, the top make and model was the Volkswagen ID.4 (2,920) followed by the Hyundai Ioniq (1,249), and Tesla Model 3 (1,054).” All of these cars have different values and capabilities, though, so it’s important when budgeting for an EV that you include car insurance, annual tax and charging outlays.
….but stock levels in Ireland are still low
Anybody who’s searched for a car online or in dealerships recently will know that there isn’t a lot of stock available. That’s due to a combination of factors including microchip shortages, Brexit, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. Also, because electric vehicles have only become popular in recent years, there are fewer used versions trickling onto the market. In fact, DoneDeal estimates that electric vehicles and hybrids represent “<1% of total used cars for sale”.
This lack of supply has led to a stark increase in the value of used cars, with prices nearly 70% higher than before the pandemic. However, DoneDeal’s latest Car Price Index brings some signs of recovery: their analysts recorded a drop in demand and an increase in supply, with the number of active listings on their site up 19% when comparing the stock of active ads on January 1st to December 1st. This hopefully means more choice for car buyers in the year ahead.
The government is still supporting EVs
The Irish government has big plans for EVs. It has committed to almost a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, which is an ambitious target in a country with just 2.5m privately-owned vehicles in total.
To help achieve this goal, the government introduced a range of supports designed to encourage buyers to choose electric vehicles. These include new car discounts, charging grants, lower tolls, reduced motor tax and VRT relief. Some of these are administered by car dealers, while others are available through various government bodies. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a full list of what’s available, as well as advice on how to apply.
…but the government is cutting back on grants this year
However, like all good things, the support is likely to come to an end eventually. For example, the grant of €2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) was removed in January of last year. The 0% benefit-in-kind on electric vehicles will also be phased out over the next three years. Buyers can currently get a grant of up to €5,000 when buying certain electric vehicles, but from July 1st 2023, the maximum grant will be reduced to €3,500.
There are still lots of reasons to think electric, though. The SEAI estimates that “fuelling an EV can cost 80% less than fuelling a comparable petrol vehicle” and cars in the lowest Co2 band also attract the lowest car tax available (currently €120 per year). With fewer moving parts and less wear and tear, servicing and maintaining EVs tends to mean lower mechanics’ bills too.
The charging network is expanding significantly
Part of the government’s commitment to electric cars sees it invest heavily in charging infrastructure around the county. Latest figures indicate that €100 million is earmarked to pay for high-powered chargers at 60km intervals on motorways, as well as residential neighbourhood charging and destination charging at taxi ranks, tourist sites, hospitals, hotels and sports clubs. The government is seeking to grow the number of charging points from around 1,700 to as much as 4,850 within a three-year period.
This is good news for anybody who has ever arrived at a charging point with a low battery only to find it occupied — hopefully now there will be another option close by.
…but you’ll still need to work out your average range
If you’re thinking about buying an EV, you’ll need to think about the model’s range. That means the distance it can travel without needing to stop to recharge. Most modern cars have extensive ranges nowadays, but you need to compare it to the distances you regularly travel. For example, if the car has a range of 175km but your family live 200km away, you will need to stop to recharge if you’re going to visit.
While charging points are set to become much more plentiful in the coming years, there are still parts of Ireland — particularly in rural, low-population areas — where you could potentially find yourself without a place to recharge. It’s important to be mindful of this and ensure you’re buying a car that can safely take you to where you need to be.
Car Insurance with Liberty
Whether you’re thinking of choosing an electric, hybrid, diesel or petrol option, if you’re considering buying a new car in 2023, Liberty Insurance can help. Choosing the right make, model or even colour can be challenging, but opting for great value car insurance is simple. Enjoy custom-built cover, fast claims and up to 25%* off when you quote and buy your car insurance online. Liberty makes it that easy.