Top Tips on Buying an Electric Car

As the ‘green wave’ continues to rise in Ireland, sales of electric cars are steadily on the rise. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) reports that more electric cars were registered in the first three months of 2019 than the whole of 2018!

And it looks as if the sale of electric cars will only continue to rise. Especially with the recent publication of the government’s Climate Action Plan. This aims to have 950,000 electric cars on the road by 2030. In order to achieve this goal, every new car sold in the next 10 years will have to be electric! The government also plans to introduce legislation to ban the sale of petrol-only and diesel-only cars from 2030 on.

So, if you’ve made the decision to buy electric, you’ve not only made a good choice for the environment, but long-term things will be easier for you as a car-owner. You should of course be fully informed before making the purchase. Electric cars are after all more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts. Although you will make this back with the savings in fuel, taxes, and financial grants available. That’s why we’ve answered some FAQs for the first-time electric car buyer below.

Electric car or hybrid car?

First you need to make a choice between an electric car or hybrid car. Choose the one most suitable for your lifestyle. Do you regularly drive long distances? Are you more familiar with the motorways of Ireland than you’d like to be? Then you probably don’t want the ‘range anxiety’ of an electric car! This will change in the future as electric cars will have improved range, and as more and more charging points are made available throughout the country. For the time being though, an electric car will mostly suit a city driver or someone who regularly drives relatively short distances.

A hybrid is more suitable for someone who needs to make longer journeys. With traditional hybrids, there is no need to plug them in either. The electric power is there to support the fuel engine and not replace it. You will find that with city driving the car will mostly run on electric power, making them a lot more economical than your typical petrol or diesel car.

New or second-hand electric car?

The popularity of electric vehicles is not just on the rise in Ireland. In Norway for example, 58% of cars sold in March 2019 were electric! So you will not have any issues buying a new model as the majority of big name car brands all carry electric models.

Likewise, nowadays there is also a good choice of second-hand electric vehicles. Those who were ahead of the curve will be either trading in or trading up their electric cars. So there should be plenty of good quality second hand models to also choose from. They are also a really great option for a second car/run-around, as they tend to be a great bargain due to the fact they depreciate quickly. As with any second-hand vehicle, pay attention to the service history, especially the health of the battery. As with any battery, bear in mind that they do degrade over time.  Check the car warranty carefully and get an independent mechanic to verify the battery if you have any doubts before purchasing.

Will I save money with an electric car?

While fully electric cars (for now) are more expensive to buy due to the new technology, there are massively cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars. There is a network of (currently) free charging stations across Ireland. (You can apply to ESB for a card to access this free service).
There are also grants available for installing a charger at home. While you will pay for the electricity, it will still work out cheaper than buying petrol or diesel. So over the lifetime of the car you will make significant fuel savings.
Likewise, your tax will also be much cheaper. Road tax is calculated on the emissions level of your vehicle, so an electric battery vehicle falls into the lowest bracket. Currently, motor tax for an electric car is just €120 a year. Some insurance companies also offer discounts on electric cars so be sure to do your homework on this.

Read on for more info on financial assistance and grants available for electric cars.

Can I get a grant for an electric car?

Yes, and you should fully inform yourself about the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grants. The SEAI offers electric vehicle grants up to the value of €5,000 when purchased privately. Grants are not available for electric cars costing less than €14,000. Once you have decided on the model of electric car you want, the car dealer will apply for the grant on your behalf and this will be deducted from the overall price. Check out the SEAI website for more on electric car grants.

Can I get a loan for an electric car?

Yes LKCU love to see their local community do their bit for the environment and are more than willing to give loans for electric cars (subject to terms and conditions). Interested in one of the more expensive electric cars? No problem! LKCU is open to granting very large loan amounts, as well as smaller amounts. Their car loans are affordable, flexible and ethical.

Loan officers at LKCU will always work with borrowers to structure loan repayments in a way that suits their financial circumstances best. Terms are straightforward and transparent, with no hidden charges or admin fees. Car loans are typically approved very quickly. You can find more detailed information on our car loans here.