For years, Hollywood has painted cars of the future in a similar light. Perhaps the best example to sum up cinema’s take on futuristic cars are those seen in Demolition Man. June 2017 will go down as a landmark month for the automotive industry worldwide and the month where the path towards futuristic cars from the movies became reality. We look at what’s happened and why the drivers of Ireland should start considering electric cars.
Volvo are phasing out fossil-fuel only cars
Volvo is known worldwide for building quality, safe cars. Early in July 2017, the Swedish car manufacturer became the first to commit to removing combustion-only engines by 2019. From then on, Volvo will be selling through the traditional cars they have left and moving to electric-only and hybrid motors.
this announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car
According to a statement from Volvo Cars Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson, “this announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car”. This commitment shows that the technology powering modern cars is now in a position to take over from traditional power sources. With Volvo on board, it’s only a matter of time until even more manufacturers follow suit. It’s not their first time being a trail blazer either. The modern seatbelt you use every day was engineered in its current form by Volvo.
France to ban petrol and diesel engines
Car manufacturers could be slow to make a move towards greener power, but if more follow France, manufacturers will have no choice but to go green. France has set itself some ambitious climate change targets meet the demands of the Paris Agreement. One of the most ambitious of these is a plan to ban diesel and petrol powered cars by 2040. Better still, France plans to be Carbon-neutral by 2050.
While one of the leaders with these thoughts, Norway, German and India have already commited to similar ideas.
First Tesla Model 3 rolls off the production line
Elon Musk, our favourite super villian, grabbed the keys of the first Tesla Model 3 in July 2017. This is a huge piece of news as the Model 3 is the first truly affordable Tesla car. Prior to the Model 3, Tesla cars were cool but bloody expensive. You can expect to pick up the Model 3 for between €35k to €40k. While that’s no Nissan Leaf in terms of price, it finally strikes a balance between cool and affordable.
First Production Model 3 pic.twitter.com/TCa2NSUNI3
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2017
Are electric cars popular in Ireland?
We’ve joked about the practical problems of owning an electric car in Ireland. We’ve got unique problems ranging from a fear of leaving on the immersion let along the car to wondering what Tesla’s autopilot will think of grass in the middle of the road.
But in all honesty, we’re slowly coming around to the idea of full electric cars and the people of Ireland love hybrids.
Grants for buying all-electric cars in Ireland
Since 2015, there’s been a 19% growth in all-electric car sales, thanks in no small part to government grants encouraging people to take the plunge. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) These cars are completely dependent on electricity are charged by the mains in your home. In terms of models, the Nissan Leaf is by far the most popular all-electric car in Ireland, ticking most boxes in terms of practicallity and value.
However, has diversity of choice increases along with general all-electric sales, the Leaf’s market share is in decline. In the coming months and years, expect Tesla to enter this space with affordable cars like the Model 3.
There are also some practical barriers for those considering moving to electrical, the most obvious of which is charge points. To benefit, you really do have to own your own property, thought expect this to change in the coming months and years.
Hybrids are most popular and a lot cooler than just Prius
The real movers and shakers are petrol-electric cars. In 2015, there were just under 900 of these on the road. In July 2017, there are nearly 3,000 of these cars travelling the country. When you hear “hybrid”, you’ll naturally think of the Toyota Prius, but the surge in hybrids comes courtesy of a different Toyota.
Apparently, it’s still down to personal preference, but I think the Toyota C-HR is a gorgeous car. While coming in both traditional and hybrid models, Toyota offer you a free change if you try hybrid and don’t like it. Another power play from companies trying to influence consumer behaviour. While that might sound like a bad thing, it’s really not. Changing from fossil-fuels is changing the habit of a lifetime and car manufacturers have to get creative.
Then there’s Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) combine traditional car engines with modern electric engines. This means you’ll be pulling into petrol stations and plugging in at home. PHEVs are one of the less popular power-types to enter the Irish market.
Are electric cars the future for Ireland?
With the Paris Agreement comes responsiblities for big changes, changes already happening with manufacturers like Volve and countries like France. Irish infrasturtuce has to come in-line with demand, but that’s a practicality that will get sorted with time. While the numbers might not knock your socks off, there have been significant leans towards modern engine types. Electric only and hybrids grew from 2% market share in 2015 to 4% in 2017. A significant jump considering the limited efforts from the Irish government to date.