EV sales rise in March as diesel declines

Total number of cars licensed for the first time rose last month

Irish car buyers increasingly opted for electric vehicles last month, new figures from the Central Statistics Office showed, with the battery-powered cars now accounting for 16 per cent of new vehicles registered in the State in March.

That compared to 13 per cent in March 2022, and continues trends seen in recent months. A further 2,180 hybrid vehicles were registered last month, along with 1,336 plug in hybrids.

Overall, the number of new cars licensed in the Republic rose by a third year on year in March to 15,782. Petrol vehicles accounted for 5,767 of that figure, while diesel powered private cars made up more than 3,500.

There were, however, indications that diesel is losing popularity. Some 22 per cent of new cars registered in the first three months of the year were diesel, compared to 26 per cent a year earlier.


The most popular make of new car was Toyota, accounting for more than 2,000 cars, followed by Skoda, Volkswagen, Kia and Dacia.

“Today’s figures from the CSO show the continued growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland. The number of new electric cars licensed has risen by 39 per cent from 5,388 in the first three months of 2022 to 7,513 in the same period of 2023,” said Nele van der Wielen, Statistician in the Transport Section of the CSO.

“In the first three months of 2023, 16,292 new cars licensed were petrol cars compared with 10,981 in the same period in 2022, an increase of 48 per cent. At the same time, new diesel cars licensed have decreased by 5 per cent in the same period.”

The second-hand car market showed more muted growth, with 4,529 used vehicles licensed during the month. Over the first three months of the year, the used import market rose to 16,732, up 4 per cent compared to 2022. Once again, diesel figures declined 5 per cent to 4,395.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist