Analysis: all you need to know about the electric cars coming to a showroom near you 

If we could only ignore Covid-19, 2020 would definitely have been the year of the electric car. Options have been multiplying throughout the year and there are now almost 100 vehicles on the market, ranging from battery-electric vehicles (BEV) to plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) to hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV).

If you're looking to buy or go electric in 2021, we have visited the dealers and researched the options for you. We have seen the much-anticipated arrival of the Volkswagen ID.3 on our shores. Citroen, Opel and Peugeot have all entered the EV and PHEV markets. 2021 will see the launch of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, a power car classic of automotive lore. 

Honda, Lexus and Mazda are launching BEVs. Cupra, a Volkswagen brand, and MG Motors, the classic English brand now owned by the Chinese, will enter the Irish market in 2021 to sell EVs. Toyota have a new RAV4 PHEV. Audi have the sportback EVs, while Mercedes and Toyota are each launching new people-carrier BEVs.

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From RTÉ Archives, could electric vehicles offer an alternative to petrol or diesel? Deirdre Purcell reports for RTÉ News in 1979 

The 2020 EV rewind

First, let's check outthe headlines from 2020. The real news has been elsewhere. Driven by Covid-19, all things EV have seen the most extraordinary stock market rise. Tesla CEO, the indomitable Elon Musk, has become the second richest person on the planet. The company is now valued at over half a trillion dollars, almost as much as all the other automotive companies put together. Elon’s other company SpaceX even took astronauts to the International Space Station and then returned them safely home. 

We have been seen a competing EV technology get traction (if you pardon the pun) on the stock market, with Nikola and its hydrogen fuel cell EV technology becoming a darling of the markets. A Toyota fuel cell bus was even seen driving on the streets of Dublin in late 2020.

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From RTÉ News, report on the arrival of Dublin Bus' new hybrid fleet

Is this the great EV stock market revolution? Or is it the biggest stock market bubble since the dot.com era of the late 1990s or the Dutch tulips bubble of the 1630s? Only time will tell and we’ll be sure and revisit the topic in the 2025 or 2030 guide. 

We had an election in this country in February. The new Irish government, with the Greens on board, have changed the vehicle registration tax (VRT) levels in order to discourage conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. The old levels were put in place when the Greens were last in government in 2008 to encourage diesel. The new government target is to get us into 1 million electric cars by 2030. That’s very ambitious but, as you’ll see below, the manufacturers are responding and the choices are increasing.

Electric cars and emissions

One of the challenges for EVs is that the battery can result in significant additional indirect carbon emissions during manufacturing. For the typical driver of a BEV, it can take about two years of driving before the lower indirect carbon emissions due to driving has paid off the excessive manufacturing emissions of the BEV.

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From RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime, transport expert Gerry Duggan on the government's commitment to increasing the amount of electric cars on Irish roads in the coming years.

But over a 10 year period, the BEV can reduce the total emissions due to the combined manufacturing and driving significantly when compared to its fossil-fuel competitors. This is largely because the electricity generation powering the driving is becoming a lot cleaner, with the elimination of coal and peat as the energy sources and the embrace of wind and solar. The challenge over the next decade is to reduce the carbon emissions due to the manufacturing.

Don’t forget to plug in your PHEV

The desirable feature of a PHEV is that they typically can cover 50 km in electric-only mode. That is great as 50km is about the average daily drive in Ireland, which means that many of your miles can be electric only. If you have a PHEV or are getting one, drive as much as possible using electricity from the grid or the environmental benefits will not be fully realised. The carbon emissions can be three to four times greater when running the vehicle off the engine compared to being in electric mode and running off the battery, your fuel costs will also be a lot higher.

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From RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland. Bob Flavin on the electric car market ahead of the country's first electric car exhibition in 2019

The big list for 2021

The following alphabetical list is a starting reference for EVs on the market in early 2021. The vehicle type is shown as coupe (c), crossover (x), estate (e), hatchback (h), liftback (l), saloon (s), people carrier (P) or SUV (V). 

Please note that there may be errors or omissions, and that there will be variations due to delivery charges, etc. New vehicle launches are fast and furious in the EV world, and so check with the dealers as to prices, new and premium models, and variations for 2021 and beyond.

The standardized WLTP values are published in Ireland for range and mile per gallon (mpg), and so are used here, but we do note that there can be varying interpretations of the test values. The kilowatt-hour or kWh is the unit of energy used both for our household electricity consumption and for electric vehicle batteries. 

Battery EV

Each BEV comes with the following information: price, battery size, and range. 

Audi e-tron Quattro 50 (V) €72,211, 71 kWh, 333 km; Quattro 50 (sportback) €75,197, 71 kWh, 333 km; Quattro 55 (V): €82,004, 95 kWh, 405 km; Quattro 55 (sportback): €89,016, 95 kWh, 405 km. BMW i3 (h, four-seater) €37,466, 42 kWh, 308 km. Mini Cooper (h, four-seater) €27,349, 32.6 kWh, 234 km. Citroen C4 (x) 50 kWh; 350 km. Ford Mustang Mach-E (x) 75.7 kWh, 450 km. Honda e (h) €29,995, 35.5 kWh, 222 km. Hyundai Ioniq (s) €32,250, 40.4 kWh, 311 km. Kona (x) €39,650, 67.5 kWh, 484 km. Jaguar I-Pace (x) €85,780; 90 kWh, 470 km. Kia Niro (x) €36,700, 67.1 kWh, 455 km; Soul (x) €35,300, 67.1 kWh, 452 km. Lexus UX 300e (x) €60,430, 54.3 kWh, 305 km. Mazda MX-30 (x) €31,795, 35.5 km, 200 km. Mercedes Benz EQC (V) €82,590, 85 kWh, 417 km; EQV (P) 100 kWh, 363 km. Nissan Leaf (h) €27,595, 40 kWh, 270 km; e+ €35,539, 62 kWh, 385 km. Opel Corsa (h) €26,854, 50 kWh, 330 km. Peugeot 208 (h) €26,853, 50 kWh, 339 km; 2008 (V) €31,262, 50 kWh, 331 km. Renault Zoe (h) €26,990 50 kWh, 395 km. Tesla Model 3 (s) €47,990, 50 kWh, 430 km; Model S (s) €85,990, 95 kWh, 652 km; Model X (V) €94,990, 100 kWh, 561 km. Volkswagen ID.3 Life (h) €32,157, 58 kWh, 425 km; ID.3 Touring (h): €41,175, 77 kWh, 542 km; ID.4 1st (c): €41,428, 77 kWh, 500 km.

Hybrid EV

Each HEV comes with the following information: price and fuel economy in mpg.

Ford Mondeo (s, e) €35,878, 51.4 mpg. Honda CR-V (V) €40,895, 41 mpg. Hyundai Kona (x) €29,045, 52.3 mpg. Tucson (V) €35,995, 48 mpg. Toyota Corolla (h, s, e) €27,630, 62.8 mpg; Camry (s) €41,995, 53.3 mpg; C-HR (x) €31,195, 57.7 mpg; Highlander (V) €63,995, 42.8 mpg; Prius (l) €36,330, 61.4 mpg; RAV 4 (X) €37,970, 50.4 mpg. Yaris (h) €24,255, 72.4 mpg; Yaris Cross (x); Lexus ES300h (s) € 49,950, 51.4 mpg; LC (c) €126,890, 43.9 mpg; LS (s) €145,420, 30.7 mpg; NX300h (x) €56,660, 37.7 mpg; RX450h (V) €83,995, 34.5 mpg; UX250h (x) €40,820, 51.3 mpg,

Plug-in Hybrid EV

Each PHEV comes with the following information: price, battery size, and range in electric-only mode. You can estimate the vehicle emissions in electric or hybrid mode by comparing the PHEV of interest to the figures for an equivalent BEV or HEV type.

Audi Q5 TFSI e Quattro (V) €59,065, 14.1 kWh, 40 km; Q7 TFSI e Quattro (V) €83,250, 17.3 kWh, 42 km; A7 TFSI e Quattro (sportback) €77,550, 14.1 kWh, 40 km. BMW 225xe (h) €39,667, 10 kWh, 56 km; 330e (s) €43,235, 12 kWh, 60 km; 530e (s) €53,134, 12 kWh, 56 km; 745e (s) €90,023, 12 kWh, 58 km; i8 (c). Mini Cooper Countryman (x) €42,950, 9.6 kWh, 51 km. Citroen C5 (X) €38,995, 13.2 kWh, 55 km. Ford Kuga (V) €34,600, 14.4 kWh, 56 km. Jaguar E-Pace (x) €65,195, 13.6 kWh, 55 km; F-Pace (V) €67,460, 13.6 kWh, 53 km. Kia Niro (x) €33,540, 10.8 kWh, 48 km; Xceed (h) €29,650, 8.9 kWh, 48 km. Land Rover Range Rover Sport (V) €87,705, 13 kWh, 41 km. Autobiography (V) €140,965; Defender (V) €78,085; Discovery Sport (V) €61,645; Evoque (V) €59,225; Velar (V) €79,275; Vogue (V) €122,820. Mercedes Benz E300de (s, diesel) €57,720, 13.5 kWh, 48 km; E300e (s, petrol) €55,825, 13.5 kWh, 50 km; S560e (s). Mitsubishi Outlander (V) €39,900; 13.8 kWh, 45 km. Opel Grandland X (V) €38,695, 13.2 kWh, 60 km. Peugeot 3008 (V) €37,550, 13.2 kWh, 60 km; 508 (s) €37,800, 11.8 kWh, 40 km. Seat Leon (h) €32,695, 13 kWh, 60 km. Skoda Superb (s) 13 kWh, 55 km. Toyota RAV4 (V), 18.1 kWh, 65 km. Volkswagen Golf (h) €41,805, 13 kWh, 64 km; Passat (s) €41,260; 13 kWh, 60 km. Volvo S60 (s) €57,995, 11.6 kWh, 56 km; 90 (s) €64,995, 11.6 kWh, 51 km; V60 (e) €54,998, 11.6 kWh, 58 km; V90 (e) €62,927, 11.6 kWh, 58 km; XC40 (x) €44,995, 10.7 kWh, 45 km; XC60 (x) €66,028, 11.6 kWh, 51 km; XC90 (V) €77,420, 11.6 kWh, 48 km.

Gerard Foran and Conor Healy contributed to this article.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ