Electric car charging: How does Ireland compare?
Electric cars are growing in popularity, not only are they better for the environment but they could also save you money.
Data updated: first half 2021
While we saw car sales slump in 2020, electric cars grew in popularity. Electric sales made up 7.4% of all new private cars licensed in 2021 in the Republic of Ireland, up from just 3% in 2019.
Across Europe, it’s a similar story. Electric cars made up 16.5% of new private licensed cars in EU countries by the 4th quarter of 2020 an increase from 3% in 2019.
So while electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular with drivers across the EU, the price we all pay to purchase, run and get car insurance for them varies drastically depending on where you live.
We’ve researched the cost of charging an electric vehicle across Europe (kWh) to estimate the difference in price in other countries.
Top 10 most expensive countries
Most expensive European countries to charge an EV
|Country||Cost to charge||Cost to drive 100km|
|7. United Kingdom||€13.77||€4.54|
Germany is the most expensive country to charge an EV in Europe. 2020 saw the market share of electric vehicles move from 4.9% to 6.7%. Germany currently offers electric car owners benefits like ownership tax exemption for 10 years and gives purchase subsidies for certain cars.
Denmark is the second most expensive country in Europe to charge an EV. There are currently about 20,000 electric cars on Danish roads, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million total. The parliament wants to link the amount of Co2 produced by a car to the tax it pays and they also don’t pay for public parking in most places.
Belgium added 8,645 new EV’s to its roads in 2020 despite the number of total cars falling. In 2020, there was still only 23,983 electric cars registered in Belgium, less than 0.4% of all cars. Zero emissions cars are exempt from annual road taxes and registration taxes in Flanders and pay both at a lower rate in other regions.
Ireland, the 4th most expensive country in Europe to charge an EV, registered 4,368 new EV’s in 2020. This was slightly higher than the year before but a much larger percentage of total registered vehicles. There are lots of benefits on offer in Ireland such as grants and reduced taxes.
In 2020, EV registrations in Spain hit 20,156 but still only make up about 1.95% of the entire market. New incentives in Spain will see buyers offered a subsidy on an EV if they scrap a vehicle that’s over 10 years old.
Italy’s electric car market tripled in 2020 with over 32,000 new registrations of EVs. There are currently purchase subsidies available in Italy, the amount depends on if you scrap an old car.
7. United Kingdom
Despite being the seventh most expensive country to charge an EV, the UK saw a huge surge in EV sales in 2020. 108,205 EVs were sold, a 180% year on year rise and a 6.6% market share. The UK offers grants towards the cost of new EVs as well as tax benefits.
Cyprus is the 8th most expensive country in Europe to charge a car and in 2020 there were only 251 EVs on the road. Cyprus offers incentives in the form of subsidies if you scrap in a vehicle over 15 years to buy an EV.
In 2020, 12% of new car sales in Portugal were EVs, they have one of the highest EV market shares in the world. Portugal has a fund allocated to give out subsidies to incentivise EV ownership as well as offering tax benefits.
In the 10th most expensive country in Europe, there were only 222 EVs on the road in 2020. Liechtenstein offers monetary incentives to those buying EVs that meet certain criteria.
Top 10 cheapest countries
|Country||Cost to charge||Cost to drive 100km|
|4. North Macedonia||€4.89||€1.61|
|5. Bosnia and Herzegovina||€5.44||€1.79|
The cheapest country to charge an EV in Europe is Ukraine, averaging at only €2.91 a charge. Its electric car market has recently taken off with 375% growth between the years 2018 and 2020.
Kosovo is the second cheapest country to charge an electric car in Europe. Electric cars haven’t taken off in the country, however, new incentives are expected to be introduced to promote the use of electric cars like the elimination of VAT and customs tax.
The third cheapest country in Europe to charge an EV is Serbia. They are introducing new incentives such as purchase subsidies to try to get the purchase of electric vehicles up.
4. North Macedonia
North Macedonia is the fourth cheapest country in Europe to charge an Electric vehicle. The government introduced an eco sticker scheme to mark vehicles by their eco-rating and offer grants to upgrade cars to less polluting fuels.
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
The fifth cheapest country to charge an electric car in Europe is Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first electric car chargers were installed in Bosnia in 2018 and there have previously been some incentives offered to go electric.
In 2020 there were 2,899 electric vehicles in Turkey, the sixth cheapest country to charge an EV in Europe. There can be tax benefits to owning an electric vehicle in Turkey.
The seventh cheapest country to charge an EV in Europe is Bulgaria, there were 1,404 electric vehicles on the road in 2020. Bulgaria offers incentives to EV owners such as lower vehicle taxes.
In 2020 there were 6,101 electric vehicles on the roads in Hungary. There are national and local incentives to owning an electric vehicle in Hungary, such as tax benefits as well as things like free parking.
Moldova is the ninth cheapest country to charge an Electric Vehicle in Europe. In 2020 22 electric vehicle charging stations were installed to help encourage uptake of electric vehicles.
In 2020 there were 1,769 electric vehicles on the roads in Estonia, there is a state subsidy offered for the purchase of electric vehicles of up to 50% of the vehicle price.
Why are some countries more expensive than others to charge a car?
Energy prices vary across the EU for lots of different reasons, including:
- Geopolitical situation
- National energy mix
- Import diversification
- Network costs
- Environmental protection costs
- Weather conditions
- Taxes and levies
All these things influence how much you pay for your energy at home and as they differ in every European country, so does the price of the energy used.
Are there any benefits to having an electric car?
Yes, on top of the environmental benefits, many European countries offer incentives to drivers who buy electric. Common benefits include purchase subsidies where you could get a certain amount of money off an electric vehicle, registration tax benefits, ownership tax benefits, company tax benefits and VAT benefits.
Some countries even offer free parking in certain areas, have different speed limits for electric vehicles or let them drive in bus and other special lanes to encourage more uptake of electric vehicles.
Why buy an electric car in Ireland?
Ireland offers some good incentives to encourage people to purchase electric cars.
Purchase subsidiary * Grants of up to €5,000 dependant on the cost price of a vehicle * Registration Tax Benefits * VRT (purchase tax) relief of up to €5,000
Ownership benefits * Motor Tax is €120 - lower than CO2 based motor tax * Up to €600 grant available towards the purchase and installation of home chargers * Reduced toll rates up to a maximum discount of €500
Local incentives * Free on-street parking in some local authorities * Regulations to provide specific on-street parking spaces * Free charging at some points
Company Tax benefits
How to save money on electric car charging
The good news is, you don’t have to pay sky high prices to charge your electric car and there are lots of ways you can make it cheaper.
For the biggest saving, switch electricity providers to get a better rate. You could save hundreds of euros a year by charging an electric car on the best tariff on the market instead of the SVR (standard variable rate).
Some electricity providers offer incentives if you charge your car at certain times of the day when electricity is cheaper. You can often use a smartphone app to choose when to charge your car, saving even more money.
If you have a smart meter, you could consider switching to one of the new plans that give you free or cheaper electricity at certain times of the day and charge your car then to save money on your bills.
How to insure an electric car
Compare car insurance for an electric car in the same way that you would a fueled car.
Be sure the company you choose has specific policies in place for drivers of electric vehicles like taking you to the nearest charging point if you run out on a long journey, replacing electric charging cables or offering you a courtesy EV.
Insuring an electric vehicle can be cheaper to charge than their fuelled equivalents according to Quote Devil.
*To work out the average cost of charging an electric car across Europe we’ve calculated the cost per charge for 55 different electric cars based on the cost of electricity in each specific country using data from Eurostat (first half of 2020) and then taken the average for each country.
To work out the cost per charge we multiplied the battery capacity of each vehicle by the average cost of electricity (Kwh) in each country according to Eurostat. We then divided the cost of a full charge with the range of the vehicle and multiplied it by 100 to work out 100 miles which were then converted into Km. Car specific data was from the Ev Database.
Countries included are all EU members and the United Kingdom; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway; Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Turkey; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo; Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. For UK Press an exchange rate of 0.85375 was used.