Today is World EV Day. A day to celebrate the wonderful technology powering over 50,000 cars on Irish roads.
This is a day to mark a moment in time. As an association, we’ve seen EV adoption move from early adopter and maven phases (loosely coupled with people in car parks discussing drag coefficients in small hatchbacks) into mass market adoption. 50,000 might seem like a small number to declare “mass adoption,” but the stats don’t lie. 25% of new cars sold in this year have been EVs, and the year-over-year growth of EVs eclipses any growth (or decline, in the case of diesel) elsewhere.
All of this is good. And the stats suggest that we would have many more EVs on the road if supply wasn’t an issue.
Boiling the year down so far, we think this means that most households with a car will buy an EV as their next one, as long as they can secure stock. Similarly, businesses that have offerings specifically for the EV market & operate electric fleets will dominate the next few years. That growth curve is going to be exponential. And this is good news for our climate, noise pollution and reliance on fossil energy production.
Alongside that growth in EV adoption, we will see new technologies come to the market. New battery chemistry to reduce reliance on mining, if not remove it altogether thanks to scaled up recycling. New features not possible with fossil power trains. And new shapes & sizes of vehicle allowing it to become more part of a wider ecosystem alongside active travel & public transport, rather than just another SUV.
The market has spoken, and EVs are here to stay. But we’ve not won anything yet as EVangelists. As we enter a difficult window of time for households struggling with soaring energy costs. With the budget from the Irish government coming, the Irish EV Owners Association has some suggestions to help push our climate & EV adoption targets.
- Investment funds allocated to public charging infrastructure.
- Serious investment is required to bring supply up to par with demand, and not to lose traction as a result of inadequate infrastructure in public charging. Notably, destination charging at OPW sites, upgrades to slow charging across towns to fast or rapid chargers & more expansion of sites where large populations are bereft of infrastructure.
- Grants on second-hand and UK imported vehicles.
- Supply is an issue at the minute, but even worse, supply on cheaper vehicles is more constrained. This blocks vital access to a phenomenal resource to so many families, students, older drivers, etc.
- Right to charge.
- Enshrined in law should be the right to charge in Ireland, which will allow charging to be on the agenda with legislators, businesses and sites that can & should offer charging as a service to EV drivers. Knowing the flexibility afforded with charging over fossil delivery mechanisms, we should lean into this across the island, starting with legislative importance of it as a right.
That final point, the right to charge, is our key mantra going forward as an association. It’s not good enough to have a target of EVs by 2030, or pockets of funding for infrastructure or even new car grants. To have an enshrined right as an EV owner, which everyone who drives will be in the next decade or two, to charge, is a critical statement and step by the government. We need a just transition, and as part of the carrot in that transition, having a right to charge is as important as the stick to get off of fossil fuels.