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Grants & EV Car Types

As we transition from combustion-powered cars over to electricity, there still appears to be some confusion over the current grants available in Ireland and the various electrically powered or assisted vehicles available on the Irish market. Many of us are not ready to make the leap to a full EV but what are the major differences between a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) plug in hybrid (PHEV), mild hybrid (MHEV) and full battery electric vehicle (BEV). Perhaps its time we took a closer look and figured out which is best for you from a personal or business perspective. First up lets look at the grants available.

Grants & Tax Benefits

The Irish government has what’s know as a ZEVI grant for private purchasers administered through SEAI giving buyers the maximum purchase grant of €3500 for qualifying new battery electric vehicles when bought privately. This grant was a put in place July 1st 2023 where it was reduced from €5000. Approved EVs with a List Price of less than €14,000 will not receive a grant. As of 1st July 2021 there is a cap of €60,000 on the full price of all vehicles. The full price of the vehicle to the customer includes all optional extras, paint and delivery but excludes any incentives such as grants or rebates. The grant amount will depend on the list price of the vehicle. This is the full non-discounted price in the absence of VRT relief or grant support. A further €600 towards the purchase and installation of a home charger unit can also be claimed through SEAI providing the fitment of said charger is carried out by a Safe Electric Registered Electrical Contractor. It is also worth noting that the standard road tax for an electric vehicle is €120 regardless of the battery size or horsepower rating.

Commercial buyer SEAI grants are also available for supports towards the purchase of new N1 category electric vehicles for business and public entities. N1 category vehicles are typically small goods carrying vans with a technically permissible maximum mass not exceeding 3500kg. A maximum grant of €3,800 is available for qualifying N1 category BEVs when purchased commercially. Approved BEVs with a list price of less than €14,000 will not receive a grant. It should be noted that these grants apply to new vehicles only and cannot be claimed on used vehicles. The grant level depends on the list price of the vehicle.

Certain Benefit In Kind exemptions and discounts are available where the car made available to your employee is an electric car. Electric cars that get their motive power from electricity only and cost under €50,000 will result in no BIK payments. Hybrid cars do not qualify as electric cars. The rule applies to both new and used cars. If your electric vehicle costs over €50,000 the 30% rate of Benefit in Kind applies. This 30% may be reduced if you incur high business mileage of more than 24,000km, however most professional contractors would not do enough to benefit from this reduction. From 2023 there are new rates for BIK, and the rate for Electric Vehicles will be 22.5% for everything over the threshold. For business travel over 26,000km this 22.5% may be reduced on a sliding scale.

Selecting and purchasing an electric vehicle involves trade-offs and decisions that only you can make. Assuming all goes well you will no doubt be aiming to make a saving over time and doing your part to ensure greener mobility for Ireland be it for personal, or business use.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

The Hybrid electric vehicle is the most common type of hybrid and they have been around for many years. The most common example of a vehicle using this powertrain would be the Toyota Prius. HEVs have two power drives, a fuel-based engine and an electric motor with a larger battery. When the car starts, it first rolls under electric power but as the vehicle gathers speed, the combustion engine kicks in. An onboard computer system determines when electricity or fuel should be used. There is also no need to plug in an HEV. Through a process known as “regenerative braking,” the car’s electric battery gets a little recharge every time the driver touches the brakes or on decent the vehicle can harvest energy.

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEV)

Mild hybrid electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular but the fuel savings can be minimal. By using a small 48V battery and electric motor to increase the efficiency of their internal combustion engine the electric motor can power nonessential features such as air conditioning or the radio. It has the ability to shut off the engine when coasting or slowing down whilst braking. The vehicle is unable to run on battery power alone and therefor really is the most basic form of hybrid motoring.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle has been with us for a good few years now and probably is the closet thing to going fully electric. PHEVs split the difference between battery electric vehicles and normal combustion power. By having a battery powered electric motor that is recharged via an external plug you can get real world electric mileage. Studies have shown that the average daily commute here in Ireland is below 70 kilometres and most modern PHEV vehicles can do this on battery power alone. The good news is that when combined with the petrol or diesel engine which, all PHEV’s have, you get great power from the two motors working in harmony. Just be sure to get into the habit of charging your PHEV at home. Although you have combustion engines its pointless hauling a heavy battery everywhere that’s not fully charged. The regenerative braking can only do so much so plugging in is essential.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

The full battery electric vehicle is powered entirely by electricity, meaning no engine as a backup. Instead, it has one or more electric motors powered by a larger onboard battery usually located deep in the floor pan. Charging the battery is done via an external outlet and depending on your battery size and charger type, times vary from 3 hours to 14 hours for a full charge. The battery in a full BEV has to power everything in the vehicle, all the time, so typical BEV capacities range from about 40 kWh to 80 kWh, although some are now emerging with batteries as large as 200 kWh. The highest selling BEVs globally include the Tesla products, Nissan Leaf, VW ID range and the Renault Zoe. Other brands like Kia and Hyundai with their award winning EV’s are catching up fast!


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