Global EV demand is booming but Ireland is trailing behind – EY

20 Aug 2021

Image: © paulynn/

An EY survey of 13 countries found that more than four in 10 consumers plan to buy an EV as their next car.

Car owners across the world are taking to electric vehicles (EVs) amid a global surge in climate consciousness since the pandemic started, according to EY. But Ireland is lagging behind.

EY’s global mobility consumer index for 2021 found that 41pc of consumers plan to buy an EV as their next car, an increase of 11 percentage points since November 2020.

Concern for the environment was the top reason for rising demand, with 78pc of respondents saying that the pandemic heightened awareness and concerns of environmental issues. Two-thirds (66pc) were even willing to pay a premium for an EV.

The survey was based on more than 9,000 responses across 13 countries – Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and the US.

While Ireland was not one of the countries surveyed, Julia Ann Corkery of EY Ireland noted that the country lags behind many European countries in EV uptake despite a domestic increase in demand for electric transport.

Corkery, who is the director of strategy, transactions, government and infrastructure at EY Ireland, also noted that Norway is leading the way in this space in Europe, where at least one in every two vehicles purchased is a battery-operated EV.

“The findings of our global mobility report highlight growing consumer preference for electric transport at an international level – this is reassuring to see with sustainable transport infrastructures being one of many crucial contributors to more sustainable societies across the world,” she said.

“In terms of private cars purchased in 2021, while Ireland has seen some great growth in the adoption of alternative fuel types, other countries across Europe appear to be moving quicker.”

Cars preferred over public transport

The EY report also found that 77pc of people who currently own an EV will choose to buy one again in their next purchase.

While this may be a good sign for the global fight against the climate crisis, the report also found that attitudes towards public transport have changed over the course of the pandemic. Half of those surveyed said that they plan to buy a car, electric or otherwise, up 17 percentage points from November 2020, while the data suggested that uptake of public transport is set to decline compared to pre-pandemic levels.

For those who did not wish to buy an EV, the cost of ownership emerged as the prime reason. Lack of charging infrastructure and slow speed of charging were among the other reasons for hesitance.

Corkery said that these reasons are relevant in Ireland too. “Considering new and alternative financial incentives and trade-in schemes offering significant reductions in sale price of new EVs [is] particularly relevant for the Irish market,” she noted.

She also said that a national strategy to improve charging infrastructure, one that includes both urban and rural areas, is essential to promote the uptake of EVs in Ireland. This, she said, needs to be complemented with an increase in green investments to generate enough renewable energy and grid capacity to meet future demand.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic