More electric vehicles have been registered in the first three months of this year than all of 2018.

New figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show 1,437 electric vehicles have been registered so far this year.

Meanwhile, the number of new car registrations fell by 5.6% in March, compared to the same month last year.

The number of imported used cars rose by 10% last month.

“There is one positive within the new car market, electric car registrations have now surpassed the total number of electric cars registered for the whole of 2018 and we would expect to see this sector continue to grow,” said Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General Designate.

He added: “While new car sales are being dampened by Brexit uncertainty, the increase in VRT on new cars for 2019, arising from the fact that no allowance was made for the first step in the move to the new WLTP [Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure] emissions testing regime, has also had a negative impact.

“Ireland is the only country in the EU that has sought to charge consumers higher registration taxes due to the improved emissions testing regime. While the VRT increases in this first phase of the transition to the WLTP test figures only saw an average increase of 5% in the CO2 values, the second phase next year will see these increasing by a further 21%.

“All other Member States have followed the EU Commission view that consumers should not be faced with increased taxation due to the improved emissions testing regime.

“The decrease in new cars sales in Q1 has meant that the State’s tax revenues from new cars have fallen by more than €60 million so far this year, and this shortfall is only going to increase as the year progresses.”

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