Sales of electric cars in Ireland in Ireland in the first two months of this year are up by over 500 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

Official figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that 330 electric cars were sold during the month of February, compared to just 72 in the same month last year. The total number registered for January and February combined was 1.129, which almost surpassed the total sales for the whole of 2018, at 1,233.

However, sales of petrol and diesel cars continue to fall. New car registrations for the month of February down 11.1%, at 15,128, when compared to February 2018, at 17,011. Brexit is cited by the SIMI as a major factor in the decline in new car sales.

Registration for January and February combined down 12.2%, or 47,425 cars on the same period last year when 54,034.

Imports of second-hand cars from the UK market dropped slightly but remain significantly high. In February, 8,861 cars were imported, compared to in February of last year when 8,900 were imported.

Combining the months of January and February, a total of 17,865 cars were imported, compared with 17,961 in the first two months of last year.

These figures indicate that there is still major demand for imported cars, with falling Sterling values making them more attractive. Many of these cars are diesel and many motor industry insiders say Ireland is becoming home for many older diesel cars from the UK and storing up an environmental legacy that is harmful.

Despite the increase in new electric car sales, many motorists are holding back from buying them until they see a better infrastructure for charging the cars and until they are convinced that the range of the car is suitable for their needs.