NI lagging well behind in switch to electric vehicles

Northern Ireland motorists are lagging well behind most other UK regions in the switch to electric or hybrid vehicles, according to recently published data.

By Mark Rainey
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:09 pm

The Mid Ulster council area has the lowest percentage of electric/hybrid cars on the road in the whole of the UK, with Fermanagh and Omagh, Causeway Coast and Glens, Newry, Mourne and Down, and Derry City and Strabane all featuring in the bottom 10.

While Portsmouth in Hampshire, Stockport in Greater Manchester and a number of London boroughs can now boast more than 10% non-petrol or diesel vehicles in use, Mid Ulster props up the UK league table with less than one percent (0.74%).

Only 805 of 106,878 vehicles registered in Mid Ulster are electric or hybrid. The City of London leads the way at just over 14%.

The figures have been published with only nine years to go until 2030 – when no new vans or cars powered only by petrol or diesel can be registered in the UK.

The information – compiled by Fleetcover insurance – is based on data proved by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Fleetcover director Philip Wall said the higher cost of insuring electric vehicles may be a deterrent, but this will reduce over time.

“We’ve got a long way to go in nine years judging from these figures, notwithstanding the running down of the existing petrol/diesel powered vehicles post 2030,” he said.

“It’s unsurprising that London has the highest proportion of electric vehicles, mainly due to the congestion fee exemption.

“Such schemes in other cities in the future should escalate electric vehicle ownership in due course, as would investment in more electric charging infrastructure across the country.

“Electric vehicles can be more expensive to insure due to the specialist nature and therefore the cost of repairs required.

“This may be a deterrent for some people, but as electric vehicles become more commonplace, the garage repair network will have to evolve too, which in turn should bring vehicle repair costs down.”

Earlier this week it was revealed that around half of Northern Ireland’s 337 electric vehicle charging points are broken at any one time.

Infrastructure Minister Nicola Mallon pledged to work to upgrade the current charging points and increase the number, but was told the network is “a shambles”.

However, Ms Mallon said: “The e-car public charge network in NI is owned, operated and maintained by ESB. I have recently met with ESB to identify further opportunities for collaboration to advance the e-charging network”.

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