Ireland is facing a roadblock just like the one in a few of the country's European Union allies: sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are much lower than initially projected. While the goal had been to sell 2,000 units in Ireland by the end of 2011, only 192 have been sold so far. When the campaign was launched in Ireland, the target was to sell enough EVs to make up 10 percent of all new vehicles by the end of 2020. That would be about 7,000 cars a year at the current new vehicle sales rate.

Consumers have paid about 23,300 euros ($29,900 US) for every electric car sold so far. The Sustainable Energy Ireland agency has invested 573,600 euros ($735,800) in grants to buyers of EVs, which has helped reduce the cost for consumers. The Renault Fluence ZE is priced at 22,000 euros ($28,000), which doesn't include the batteries that must be leased separately. The Nissan Leaf costs 30,000 euros ($38,400).

As for other Irish government investments, so far about 3.9 million euros ($5m) have been spent on charging station installations for public, domestic and business use. The charging infrastructure is behind the initial target – 1,500 charging points and 40 fast chargers were to be in place by the end of 2011. As 2012 comes to a conclusion, 860 public chargers and 30 fast chargers have been installed.

To simplify the charging process, consumers now have access to a nationwide charger payment program. Ireland's Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which oversees the power grid, has teamed with IBM to implement a smart charging platform that enables drivers to roam across the country and pay for electricity using one card.

Automakers such as Toyota, GM, Volvo, BMW and Ford are introducing plug-in electric vehicles to ease consumer acceptance of the new technology, with the assumption these extended range vehicles will do better than pure EVs. How to bridge the gap with Irish consumers is still troubling for automakers and government officials.

To Paddy Comyn of Volkswagen Group Ireland, it's extremely difficult to reach consumers with new technology in its infancy during rough economic times. "This is especially true when finances are difficult and buyers need to be more careful about their purchases," Comyn told The Irish Times.


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  • 25 Comments
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      This reminds me of being a teenager and wanting to measure how much I'd grown every week to see how tall I'd gotten. LOL Sooner or later, you have to relax and realize it takes a little time and checking it every 5 minutes doesn't make it happen any faster.
      carney373
      • 2 Years Ago
      Iralend is not exactly big, around 200 miles across and 300 miles long. And it's an island, you can't leave via car anyway. So it should be perfect for EVs.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carney373
        Someone should invent a boat capable of carrying cars. They could name it a "ferry" or something like that.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          @ Actionable Mango Oh dear, you and your crackpot idea's ! A boat capable of carry cars....never catch on !
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Novel concept: maybe the consumers don't want one? Just sayin.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Stupid consumers not knowing what is best for them.....
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the last 6 months, Nissan have cut the price of the Leaf in Ireland to €25595.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anne, a lot of the recession in the US was caused by the government demanding that our banks abandon their conservative financial standards to lend to people who couldn't afford homes. People who were completely unqualified to buy a car, much less a home 10x the price.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      @pmp Loans were immediately sold, due to the need for them to maintain the CRA rating. It didn't matter the backing. I bought a house and within less than a month, the mortgage was sold. It ended up being sold at least four times. Also, again ask, if there was no backing, no requirements, why would banks make loans people could obviously not pay back? Banks aren't normally charities. Only government can create an atmosphere where people would do anything this insane. Private banks also made loans with the same backing. Banks need permission to grow, expand, etc. CRA ratings are the basis. After the rocket blew up (I am a rocket scientist) at Martin Marietta, I went into risk management (irony) and have consulted for insurance companies (primarily commercial insurance). If you are a typical liberal, you hate 'big insurance'. The interesting thing is, every last single thing they do is regulated by the government (hmmmmm, I see your point on hating them). How they file. How they call claimants. What to pay. When to pay. When to call a claimant after a phone claim. Various rating agencies come in and if the companies doesn't achieve a certain score (like a CRA score) they are not allowed to do business in that state. With health insurance, what is covered is regulated from state to state. His is why healthcare in Mississippi is 2/3 less than Connecticut. They don't require acupuncture to be covered, or aroma therapy (smell his - feel better now? No? Pay the bill anyway). I will never say that there should be no regulations. However, if you only knew how much dumb regulations effed things up.... It is amazing.
      Vlad
      • 2 Years Ago
      There were no "ideologically driven requirements to provide to poor" after 8 years of Bush presidency. GFC was caused by bank de-regulation and stupid belief that house prices will always go up. You can argue about "conservative values" all you want - but it was people who call themselves conservative (simultaneously declaring that "deficits don't matter") who put these policies in place. Ireland fared much worse than "socialist" Scandinavia. Something to think about.
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      The conservative spin machine went into overdrive after the financial crisis exploded the claim that unregulated markets always work best. Talking points fed to sympathetic columnists and reporters told an alternate, racially tinged tale: poor people were to blame. In the mythos they created, the Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to “loosen underwriting standards” and to lend to the poor and those with poor credit, forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the “800 pound gorilla in the room,” to careen down the path of bad loans, dragging other lenders with them. Incredibly, conservatives blame insufficient regulation of Fannie and Freddie, and cite the Clinton administration as the architect of the mortgage industry’s collapse. Instead, conservative deregulation left Wall Street with no cop on the beat. Bush’s conservative appointees rolled back regulation and oversight of banks, insurers, lenders, and credit raters. - The explosion in sub-prime loans after 2000 was made by unregulated mortgage companies, and the vast majority of them were issued to higher income borrowers, not low- to moderate-income borrowers. - The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) dismantled Depression-era law that had prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial companies such as investment, commercial banking, and insurance companies. GLBA ignited a wave of mergers and hampered government regulators charged with preventing conflicts of interest and risky financial behavior. Private lenders—not the government-backed Fannie and Freddie—issued the vast majority of sub-prime loans, and to low- and moderate-income borrowers in particular. Fannie and Freddie did not guarantee and securitize large quantities of sub-prime loans. - In fact, Fannie Mae actually lost market share because it chose not to “participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages in 2004 and 2005” because it “determined that the pricing offered for these mortgages often was insufficient compensation for the additional credit risk associated with these mortgages.” As economist Dean Baker stated, “Fannie and Freddie got into sub-prime junk and helped fuel the housing bubble, but they were trailing the irrational exuberance of the private sector….In short, while Fannie and Freddie were completely irresponsible in their lending practices, the claim that they were responsible for the financial disaster is absurd on its face—kind of like the claim that the earth is flat.” - In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld acknowledged that Fannie and Freddie’s role in Lehman’s demise was “de minimis,” or so small that it does not matter. Several media figures have accused progressives in Congress of opposing stronger oversight of two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, and his predecessor, Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH) made efforts to
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ Vlad Actually, 'Capitalist' Australia did the best of all during the GFC ! You are a little out of date ! Sweden is no longer the Socialist paradise you imagine ! Sweden is in the process of, (or already has) privatizing SEK 200 billion's worth of a number of wholly and partly state owned companies, to "reduce government debt and reduce the burden of debt for future generations ". Both Saab and Volvo Cars are foreign owned, and Volvo trucks (AB-Volvo) no longer has any government investment. But, that not relevant to the American experience. Just blaming the finance sector, without understanding the underlying causes of GFC, is It's saying the lawlessness and corruption of the Prohibition Era was solely the fault of bootleggers, while absolving the Volstead Act from any culpability ! The underlying cause of the GFC, was the creation of ill-conceived US government policies.
      winc06
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmm. Recession, made worse by conservative policies. New tech suitable only for a short commute purpose. I imagine EV sales are pretty bad in Spain, Italy and Greece as well.
        pmpjunkie01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @winc06
        enhance regulatory oversight on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005 and sponsoring the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007. Both of these bills called for a new agency to oversee and regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @winc06
        @ winc06 " Recession, made worse by conservative policies" It's a lack of "conservative policies" that caused the recession ! The left never learns, do they? No matter what, their prolifically is never their fault ! Ireland can be only thankful to Enda Kenny and Fine Gael .
      Anne
      • 2 Years Ago
      "When the campaign was launched in Ireland, the target was to sell enough EVs to make up 10 percent of all new vehicles by the end of 2020. That would be about 7,000 cars a year at the current new vehicle sales rate." These Irelanders should learn about exponential growth. If you want to sell 7000 cars in 2020, your target of 2000 in 2011 is way too high. If electric car sales grow at a 50% CAGR, which is not far fetched in these early stages of EV development, that 7000 vehicles will be attained in 2020 starting with the 192 vehicles sold in 2011. People should be better aware that car buyers are very conservative, and that car technology does not progress at the same speed as smart phones. The initial uptake will be modest, but eventually, as the technology matures and people get comfortable with it, sales will climb. Look at what happened with the LEAF. First there seemed to be a lot of interest, but this was mainly fulfilling the pre-orders from EV enthusiasts. These people would buy virtually anything, at any price. After that demand had dried up, the EV had to find natural demand, convince buyers that it is an attractive proposition. Lowering the price certainly helps. Increasing the range too. And now, slowly but surely, the sales of the LEAF are climbing. But things will move slowly. Patience and stamina are necessary.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anne
        I wish I could give you two thumbs up. Thanks for being a voice of reason.
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anne
        Well said!
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anne
        But things will move slowly. Patience and stamina are necessary. That's what she said..
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I know you're joking because you don't like "gov't" or anyone telling people what they should do. And that is true, especially the way we Americans see the world. But it's also true that people don't always know what's best for them and it takes a long time for it to sink in. Doesn't mean we tell them what to do...but they WILL do stupid things to themselves.
      Anne
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well the recession was in great part caused by almost completely deregulating the financial sector, a typical conservative move.
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