Despite the pandemic, electric vehicle sales in Northern Ireland tripled between 2019 and 2020, increasing from 579 to 1,680. In Northern Ireland, nearly as many new EVs were registered in 2020. There are now over 4,000 EVs on Northern Ireland’s roads.
As manufacturers transition away from petrol and diesel, there is an ever-increasing number of models available. These aren’t all Teslas, Audis, and Porsches – there is an increasing number of models available for less than £30,000, ranging from Renault Zoes to the MG ZS and the Volkswagen ID.3.
As the market matures, prices continue to fall – and the operating costs of EVs are significantly lower than those of gasoline and diesel. My car gains 160 miles of range by charging at home overnight for less than £4. (less than 3p per mile).
According to the Department for the Economy, renewable energy will account for 49 percent of NI’s electricity in 2020. Minister Dodds hopes to achieve a target of at least 70% by 2030. Even on a coal-fired grid-like Poland’s, EVs emit significantly less CO2 than diesel and gasoline over their lifetime.
NI is a world leader in integrating renewable energy, and EVs here are already much cleaner than gasoline or diesel, which will only get better. EVs also avoid the harmful tailpipe emissions associated with diesel, linked to the deaths of tens of thousands of people in the UK each year, and are strongly linked to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Aside from the “feel good” and financial benefits of driving an EV, they are usually a much better proposition to drive. Electric vehicles do not require gears or clutches. A well-designed EV, such as a Tesla Model 3 or a Volkswagen ID.3, has a low center of gravity, handles and accelerates well, and has plenty of extra storage space.
The UK government has proposed a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles beginning in 2030 and hybrids starting in 2035. According to NIE Networks, there could be 400,000 electric vehicles on Northern Ireland’s roads by 2030. However, Northern Ireland’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is inadequate for the region’s 4,000 EVs, let alone 100 times that number.