Motorists show growing support for electric vehicles


Enthusiasm for electric vehicles (EVs) among consumers has grown massively in the past year, data from two separate reports show.

A report from global EV database found some "2.65m new EVs found new owners during the first half of 2021, an increase of more than 168% compared to 2020".

Separately, professional services firm EY's Global Mobility Consumer Index found 41% of those looking to buy a car in the next year say they will be buying an EV, an increase of 11 percentage points on November’s MCI. The same report found that more than 8 in 10 owners of EVs would buy another the next time around.

The climate crisis was among the main reasons for the new consumer desire for EVs, the EY report found - with 78% saying the Covid-19 pandemic had heightened awareness and concerns about environmental issues.

In the report, data showed  uptake dwindled during the first phase of the pandemic, before a strong resurgence. Global sales of EVs stayed 14% below the first half of 2019 volumes, as vehicle markets declined overall by 28% during 2020, said.

"For 2021, all regions and most countries witness strong increases in EV sales, with growth rates three to eight times higher than for total light vehicle markets. The share of BEV+PHEV in global light vehicle sales increased from 3% in 2020 H1 to 6.3% this year." 

BEV refers to battery-operated EVs. PHEVs are plug-in hybrid vehicles, which have come under fire as little better than fossil fuel-powered cars as they still heavily rely on pollutant-causing internal combustion.

Europe leads with 14% EV share for the first six months combined, up from 7% a year ago, said.

It cautioned that half of Europe's EV sales are PHEVs, compared to 80% pure electric outside Europe. 

"The tailpipe emissions of PHEVs are completely depending on the charging and driving habits of their users, whatever the catalogue value says. To their benefit, it can be said that countries with high PHEV market shares usually have high BEV market shares as well," the report said.

Editor of, Limerick-based Tom Spencer, said  the signs were encouraging for Ireland as well as globally.

"We're consistently seeing year-on-year growth in EV sales both domestically and internationally. According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry's latest press release, EV sales in Ireland up to July have grown to 6,233 in 2021, compared to just 2,660 in 2020. This was also the case in 2020, when EV sales grew to 4,013 new sales compared to 3,444 in 2019."

Mr Spencer said it was probably better to consider EVs as a form of technology, rather than as cars when it comes to sales. 

"There is a mathematical principle for technology adoption called the Sigmoid Curve, which states that adoption will increase as prices fall and availability increases."

Julia Ann Corkery, director of strategy at EY Ireland, said while Ireland had seen some great growth in the adoption of alternative fuel types, other countries across Europe appear to be moving more quickly. 

"One of the front-runners in terms of EV adoption is Norway, where at least one in every two vehicles purchased is a BEV," she said.