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The most popular new car was the Hyundai Tucson. Alamy Stock Photo
car market

Most cars registered in 2023 fuelled by petrol or diesel, despite large rise in new electric cars

There was a 45% increase in the registration of new electric vehicles last year, compared to 2022.

THE MAJORITY OF new cars registered last year were fuelled by petrol or diesel, despite a 45% increase in the number of new electric vehicles (EVs) registered.

Figures published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) have revealed that 121,850 new cars were registered last year, including 22,789 new EVs.

In total, 30.07% of new cars registered were fuelled by petrol, while diesel-powered cars made up 22.16% of the market.

Compared with figures from 2022, there was a 16% increase in the total number of cars registered last year.

The sale of new electric cars was up again last year, with SIMI stating that there was a 45% increase in the number of new EVs registered.

Four out of five of the top new car models registered were SUVs, including the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Toyota Yaris Cross and the Volkswagen ID.4. The Toyota Corolla was the only car model in the top five which is not an SUV.

Earlier in the year, tax strategists, experts and Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe flagged that the introduction of a controversial “weight-based” tax on SUV-style cars could curb the sale of the large, high-powered vehicles.

Experts, speaking to an Oireachtas climate committee last year, said that the vehicles damage the environment and that even when battery-powered, heavier EVs should not be viewed as “silver bullet”.

Four out of the five top new EV models were also SUVs, including the Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The only EV that was not an SUV among the top five was the MG MG4 hatchback.

The most popular new vehicle in 2023 overall was the Hyundai Tucson.

Fully electric EVs accounted for 18.7% of new sales, while non plug-in hybrids accounted for 18.54% and plug-in hybrids for 8.28%.

SIMI’s Director General, Brian Cooke said the industry expects to see more growth in electric sales again in 2024, “but key to this will be the ongoing government support, both in terms of vehicle and taxation incentives and investment in a fit for purpose charging infrastructure”.

Some of these tax incentives were extended in Budget 2024, including relief of up to €50,000 relief on Vehicle Registration Tax which will be in place until the end of December 2025.

Benefit in kind deductions for EVs, up to €35,000, were also extended until the end of 2025. These will be reduced to €20,000 in 2026 and €10,000 in 2027.

Although some relief was given to drivers of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, by way of a postponement to the re-introduction of higher excise duties on petrol and diesel, higher rates will enter force later this yera.

The governmetn increased carbon tax on the fuels the day after the budget, on 11 October 2023.

Last year, 70% of buyers said they were considering purchasing an EV. The government announced plans to roll-out charging stations nationwide and a skills hub in Mullingar.

The second-hand market for EVs was also buoyant last  year, with resale platform Done Deal reporting a 35% year-on-year increase in demand for the vehicle type.

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