The new Mercedes-Benz EQB!

Mercedes-Benz EQB Arrives In Ireland!

The new Mercedes-Benz EQB!
The new Mercedes-Benz EQB!

Mercedes-Benz continues to extend its presence in the market for electric vehicles with the arrival of the new Mercedes-Benz EQB compact SUV. It's available now in Ireland with a 7-seat option.

The EQB is the latest electric SUV to be launched by the German brand in Ireland. It joins the EQC and EQA, recently reviewed for Changing Lanes.

Mercedes-Benz EQB price in Ireland

The Mercedes-Benz EQB uses a 66.5 kWh battery with a range of 419 km (WLTP). There are three models confirmed for Ireland - EQB 250, EQB 300 and EQB 350.

The EQB 250 is front wheel drive with 190 hp and is expected to be the most sought-after model here. Pricing begins from €64,030 for this model.

The other two models in the range are four wheel drive. The EQB 300 has 225 hp and is priced from €68,505. The EQB 350 has 288 hp and is priced from €71,520.

The new Mercedes electric SUV is available in Progressive, AMG Line and Electric Art trim levels, as well as a special Edition 1.

7-seat electric SUV

The EQB shares its dimensions with the GLB and borrows heavily in design. It's now one of the few 7-seat electric SUV options on the Irish market and has been designed to deliver electric motoring in a family-size package,

There are adjustable second-row seats and an optional third-row seat arrangement concealed beneath the luggage floor which can be raised to expand capacity to a 7-seat layout as required. Up to four child seats can be fitted in the second and third rows. The boot volume in five seat mode is a generous 465 litres.

The new EQ model joins the Mercedes-Benz family with a distinctive black panel grille with central star, front ‘EQ’ blue headlamp strips and a continuous fibre-optic strip running along front and rear. Light-alloy wheels in bi or tri-colour design are available in sizes up to 20 inches.

The Mercedes-Benz EQB offers a seven seat electric SUV option
The Mercedes-Benz EQB offers a seven seat electric SUV option

Anything else?

The EQB can avail of up to 100 kW DC fast charging, adding up to 80% battery power in 30 minutes. Maximum AC charging capacity is 11 kW.

With a 0.28 Cd value, the EQB’s lower wind resistance delivers greater efficiency and range. Other aerodynamic features include front and rear aprons, a smooth and enclosed underbody, closed cooling air system, and wind-optimised wheels with spoilers.

Inside there is a latest generation Mercedes-Benz interior with a distinctive centre console, instrument panel and widescreen dashboard with MBUX user experience and ‘Hey Mercedes’ command system. It's enhanced with fastest route to destination ‘Navigation and Electric Intelligence’.

2022 will also see the launch of the two more new Mercedes-Benz electric car: the EQS, based on the S-Class, and the EQE based on the E-Class.


Anthony Conlon and Cathal Doyle of the Irish Car of the Year Committee with Tom Dennigan (middle) from awards sponsor Continental Tyres

Continental Tyres Irish Car Of The Year Returns In 2022

Anthony Conlon and Cathal Doyle of the Irish Car of the Year Committee with Tom Dennigan (middle) from awards sponsor Continental Tyres
Anthony Conlon and Cathal Doyle of the Irish Car of the Year Committee with Tom Dennigan (middle) from awards sponsor Continental Tyres

The Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year 2022 awards programme has been launched, with 34 new cars and SUVs eligible for this year's award.

The class of 2022 show the shift that is taking place towards electric with half of the eligible cars available as electric vehicles.

The aim of the Irish Car of the Year awards is to highlight for consumers the best new cars that have launched in Ireland in the past year. Cars are divided into categories with a number of category winners awarded, as well as an overall Irish Car of the Year.

The jury for Irish Car of the Year is made up of over 30 of Ireland’s most experienced motoring journalists, from across online, broadcast and print media, including this writer.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards programme in 2021. The Kia e-Soul was the last car to win the coveted title, announced as Irish Car of the Year 2020 at a gala event held in The Westin, Dublin, in November 2019. The e-Soul was a popular winner, and the first electric vehicle to win in over 40 years of Irish Car of the Year.

Speaking at the launch of this year's awards programme, Joint-Chairman of the Irish Car of the Year Committee, Anthony Conlon, said:

“It is an important service that myself and the other motoring journalists who vote on the awards provide to the Irish car buying public – we help to make sense of the mind-boggling array of cars that are launched here each year, highlighting the best models in each category that are best suited to the needs of Irish drivers. And even though the pandemic has caused some disruption and delay in the production of some models, there has still been an impressive crop of cars for us to judge as part of the 2022 awards programme.”

Cathal Doyle, Joint-Chairman of the Irish Car of the Year Committee, added:

“With half of the contenders for this year’s Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards available as full electric vehicles, the extent to which the worldwide motor industry is reinventing itself is clear. That said, there are still many exciting new petrol and diesel models being launched as well as an ever increasing choice of hybrid options, ensuring there is a vehicle on sale to meet the needs of every Irish customer.”

Tom Dennigan of awards sponsor, German premium tyre brand Continental Tyres, said:

“We are delighted to be back with the awards programme for 2022.  Two years ago in 2020 when we last named an Irish Car of the Year winner, it was the Kia e-Soul, the first time that an electric car has won the title. Two years ago, the e-Soul was very much in the minority among the eligible cars as only a small number were electric.  Now, in spite of the pandemic, just look how the picture has changed with half of the entrants being available as full electric vehicles – there can be no more stark indication of the revolution that is occurring in motoring today.

A field of 34 candidates is eligible for the 2022 Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year awards. The category winners and the overall winner of the coveted title will be announced in February.

The full list of eligible cars for the Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year 2022 awards is as follows:

Compact Car

Dacia Sandero

Honda-e

Hyundai i20

 

Medium Car

Citroen C4

CUPRA Leon

DS 3

MG5

Volkswagen Caddy passenger

 

Small Crossover/SUV

Hyundai Bayon

Mazda MX30

Mercedes-Benz EQA

MG ZS

Opel Mokka

Toyota Yaris Cross

 

Medium Crossover/SUV

Cupra Formentor

Hyundai Tucson

Nissan Qashqai

Renault Arkana

Subaru Outback

 

Large Car

Audi Q4 e-tron

Hyundai IONIQ 5

Kia EV6

Škoda Enyaq

Toyota Highlander

Volkswagen ID.4

 

Luxury Car

Audi e-tron GT

BMW iX

Mercedes-Benz EQV

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

 

Performance Car

BMW M3/M4

Ford Puma ST

Peugeot 508 PSE

Toyota Yaris GR

Volkswagen ID.4 GTX

...

Stay up to date on all the latest Irish Car of the Year news with Changing Lanes!

By Caroline Kidd


Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Max

New Car Registrations Ireland In 2021

Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Max
The Volkswagen ID.4 was the bestselling electric vehicle in Ireland in 2021

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released new car registrations data for Ireland in 2021 and it shows that 104,932 new cars were registered here in 2021 compared to 88,325 for the same period in 2020. This is an increase of 18.8% but remains 10% down on 2019.

The data shows that 8,646 new electric cars were registered in Ireland in 2021, compared to 4,013 in the same period in 2020 and 3,444 in 2019.

The five bestselling brands were 1. Toyota, 2. Volkswagen, 3. Hyundai, 4. Skoda, and 5. Ford.

The five bestselling cars were 1. Hyundai Tucson, 2. Toyota Corolla, 3. Toyota Yaris, 4. Volkswagen Tiguan, and 5. Toyota C-HR. The Volkswagen ID.4 was the bestselling electric vehicle in Ireland in 2021.

Diesel remains the most popular engine type despite a decline in its market share last year (9.85%), while hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid continue to gain market share in 2021.

Diesel accounted for 33.44% of the Irish new car market, petrol for 32.16%, hybrid for 16.22%, electric for 8.24%, and plug-in hybrid for 7.26%.

There were 63,617 imported used cars in Ireland in 2021, a decrease of 20.4% on 2020 (79,969) and a decrease of 44.2% on 2019 (113,926).

Manual transmissions had 51% market share, while automatic transmissions continue to increase their popularity, accounting for now 40% of the new car market in Ireland, driven by sales of new electric and hybrid cars.

The hatchback remains Ireland’s top selling car body type of 2021. Grey is the top selling colour and has continued to keep this title for the past six years. It's followed by black in second place and blue in third place.

New Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations in 2021 saw an increase of 32.3% (28,741) compared to 2020 (21,732) and +13.4% compared to 2019 (25,336).

New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations (HGV) saw an increase of 31.5% (2,716) in comparison to 2020 (2,066) and +2.1% on 2019 (2,659).

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said:

“The difficulties arising from both COVID and Brexit impacted on the supply and demand for cars, which made 2021 another challenging year for the Irish Motor Industry. While new car sales show a 19% increase on 2020, they remain behind 2019 levels. On a positive note, the sale of Electric Vehicles (EVs) more than doubled in 2021, and with the sale of EVs being underpinned by SEAI Grants, we can expect to see an increasing number of new EVs on Irish roads in 2022.

Commercial Vehicles sales also saw a significant improvement in 2021, with light commercial vehicles up over 30% on 2020, reflecting the increase in business confidence as the year progressed.

The Industry is hopeful that 2022 will see further improvements in business levels. Pre-orders do indicate a strong appetite for new and used cars, providing a positive outlook for our Industry and with a return to pre-pandemic 2019 new car sales levels expected.

However, even these anticipated sales will not be sufficient to reduce Ireland’s ageing car fleet. We need to see significant growth in the years ahead if we want to optimise the benefits of reduced emissions from new cars. We will see annual increases in Electric Vehicle sales, but the extent of their penetration into the fleet will not only be determined by the increased choice of EVs been supplied but also by the continuation of Government supports.”


The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Corolla Cross On The Way To Ireland!

The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022
The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Ireland has confirmed that a new SUV will join the range in 2022 - the new Toyota Corolla Cross.

What is the new Toyota Corolla Cross?

The new Corolla Cross is a mid-size family SUV and will join the RAV4, Highlander, C-HR and recently launched Yaris Cross in the brand's line-up of SUVs. Pricing for the new Corolla Cross in Ireland will be announced closer to launch.

The new SUV will complete the family of Corolla derivatives -sitting alongside the Corolla hatchback, Touring Sports and saloon.

Based on Toyota’s TNGA philosophy, the Corolla Cross features the latest GA-C platform developments. It will be exclusively available as a hybrid. It sits between the Toyota C-HR and the RAV4 and is designed to be practical and spacious for families.

The Corolla Cross will be the first Toyota model globally to benefit from the new fifth-generation hybrid system. It has more torque, more electrical power, greater efficiency and increased driving pleasure.

The transaxle has been re-engineered along with new lubrication and oil distribution systems that use low-viscosity oil. This contributes to efficiency and power improvements thanks to reduced electrical and mechanical losses.

The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV
The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV

New hybrid tech for Corolla Cross

The new battery pack system is more powerful and 40% lighter than before. Both motor and engine output have improved, resulting in a total system output increase of more than 8%.

The front wheel drive 2.0 litre hybrid powertrain generates 197hp, delivering 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.1 seconds. There will also be an all wheel drive variant.

Inside there is a European-specific dashboard layout, featuring an all-new, multi-configuration, 12.3-inch driver’s digital cockpit and a 10.5-inch central multimedia display.

More than 50 million Corollas have been sold around the world since its introduction in 1966. The new Corolla Cross will further strengthen Toyota’s presence in the C-segment. The Corolla is already one of the bestselling cars in Ireland.

Customer deliveries of the new Corolla Cross will start in Autumn 2022.


Toyota outlines its path to 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 at recent Kenshiki forum

Toyota Shares European Business Strategy

Toyota outlines its path to 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 at recent Kenshiki forum
Toyota outlines its path to 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 at recent Kenshiki forum

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) communicated the latest news on its European business strategy, company’s vision, new products and technology developments at the recent Kenshiki event for media.

Kenshiki means insight in Japanese, and this year’s event focused on TME’s commitment to carbon neutrality, the acceleration of its electrification plan and its active role in building a hydrogen economy.

During the main plenary briefing, Toyota executives explained the company’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality as quickly as possible, while minimising carbon emissions during the journey to neutrality.

The goal of minimising carbon emissions will be achieved by accelerating electrification and offering a diverse range of CO2 efficient powertrain solutions to all its customers.

In the coming years, Toyota say they will roll out an increasing number of practical and affordable zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs), with the new Toyota bZ4X electric SUV being the latest model to be launched and will arrive in Ireland next summer.

By 2030, the ZEV sales mix is anticipated to be a minimum of 50% in Western Europe, with the capacity and capability to further increase should customer demand go even higher.

The brand's latest hydrogen fuel cell technology in two different configurations
The brand's latest hydrogen fuel cell technology in two different configurations

Matt Harrison, President & CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said:

“Moving beyond 2030, we expect to see further ZEV demand acceleration and Toyota will be ready to achieve 100% CO2 reduction in all new vehicles by 2035 in Western Europe, assuming that sufficient electric charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructures are in place by then, together with the renewable energy capacity increases that will be required.”

Gill Pratt, TMC Chief Scientist & TRI CEO, further explained that the path to carbon neutrality is most efficiently based on diversity of powertrain solutions due to the wide diversity of markets around the world, stemming from three key factors: diverse nature of energy sources across regions, the different transportation needs of people and thirdly, the imperative to maximise the Carbon Return on Investment to ensure that use of scarce battery raw materials is optimised.

“Whilst Toyota is committed to making millions of Battery Electric Vehicles available to customers, the way to reduce the most net carbon emissions globally is to use every item in our toolbox, including Hybrid Electric, Plug-in Hybrid Electric, Battery Electric and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, with the proportions of each optimised to make best use of the infrastructure constraints and customer circumstances of every region, and the limited supply and improving performance of batteries.”

More details of Toyota’s battery strategy were shared by Gerald Killmann, Vice President of TME R&D, following the recent global announcement of its €11.5 billion battery investment strategy.

Commercial production has started on the world’s first bi-polar NiMh battery which, as well as using less precious minerals, is lower in cost with double the output density of a regular NiMh battery.

By applying similar techniques to Li-Ion batteries, combined with further efficiencies in vehicle energy consumption, Toyota expects to see a 50% reduction in battery cost per vehicle, without deteriorating range, in the second half of the 2020s, making battery electric vehicles more affordable and accessible.

On the introduction of solid-state batteries, Mr Killmann confirmed that following prototype testing last year, they will likely be first introduced in hybrid electric vehicles before wider deployment, including battery electric vehicles, with the aims of delivering higher output, longer range and shorter charging times.

Toyota will accelerate electrification and offer a range of CO2 efficient powertrain solutions to customers
Toyota will accelerate electrification and offer a range of CO2 efficient powertrain solutions to customers

Steve Tormey, Chief Executive, Toyota Ireland, said:

“Our self-charging hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are consistently improving with each new generation and we are looking forward to providing even more electrified offerings for our customers, such as the highly anticipated bZ4X battery electric vehicle. With our relentless commitment to ensuring a better planet for all along with our commitment today to a 100% reduction in CO2 by 2035, we look forward to making a profound difference in the automotive world in the coming 15 years.”

TME expects to deliver 1.07 million vehicles in 2021, for an estimated 6.3% market share – a new record and an increase of 80,000 units compared to 2020. In 2022, TME is planning to sell around 1.3 million vehicles for a 6.5% market share – another new record.

Underpinning the anticipated 230,000 sales growth between 2021 and 2022 will be the arrival of new models like the bZ4X, the Aygo X, the GR86 and the Corolla Cross.


The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept is an experimental hyrogen combustion vehicle

Toyota GR Yaris Hydrogen Concept Revealed!

The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept is an experimental hyrogen combustion vehicle
The Toyota GR Yaris H2 Concept uses experimental hyrogen combustion technology

Toyota has showcased an experimental Toyota GR Yaris with hydrogen-powered combustion engine technology.

The hydrogen fuel, fuel tanks and refuelling process of the experimental vehicle are the same as found in the Toyota Mirai, the Japanese brand's commercially available flagship hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. But while the Mirai employs chemical reaction in the fuel cells to generate energy, the experimental GR Yaris features an internal combustion engine with hydrogen as the fuel.

While the hydrogen combustion engine technology is still in the early stages of conceptual development and experimentation, Toyota’s experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport is already delivering high performance at motorsport events in Japan, with almost zero tailpipe emissions.

The hydrogen-powered experimental GR Yaris and the Corolla Sport both feature the same G16E-GTS, 1.6-litre, in-line 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine that is found already in the high performance Toyota GR Yaris, but with a modified fuel supply and injection system for use with hydrogen as fuel.

The experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport has already been competing in the Super Taikyu race series in Japan since May this year under the ROOKIE Racing arm of Toyota GAZOO Racing where the team has taken on the challenge to test the experimental hydrogen combustion engine under the harsh environments of motorsport.

Hydrogen combusts at a faster rate than petrol, resulting in good responsiveness while delivering excellent environmental performance. Hydrogen combustion also has the potential to give a fun to drive experience with the acoustic and sensory sensations that characterise internal combustion engines.


The new all-electric Fiat 500e

Gowan Group Acquires FCA Ireland

The new all-electric Fiat 500e
The new all-electric Fiat 500e

Gowan Group, the family-owned holding company, has announced that it has completed the acquisition of FCA Ireland, following approval of the transaction by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commissioner.

The Group will now take over responsibility for importing the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat Professional brands into Ireland, all of which are owned by Stellantis.

This transaction comes in the wake of the merger of car manufacturers PSA and FCA earlier this year, which created Stellantis, now one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers with industrial operations in 30 countries and a commercial presence in 130 markets.

In addition to already importing Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and DS brands, Gowan Group will now import a total of eight Stellantis brands in Ireland, as well as Honda cars. Gowan Group will assume responsibility for all of FCA Ireland’s operations and current employees will transfer now that the transaction has been completed.

“We are delighted to become Stellantis’s import partner in Ireland for Fiat, Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Fiat Professional brands,” says Michael Dwan, CEO of Gowan Group.

“We have a deep understanding of the Irish motor market and a good appreciation of the Stellantis brands. We have been impressed with the quality of the product pipeline and with the significant investment commitment to power the Stellantis electrification strategy. We are committed to improving customer satisfaction and market share for each of the brands in Ireland.

Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat Professional complement Gowan's already broad model portfolio. Leveraging the many new and advanced powertrain developments across the Stellantis Group, each of the brands in the newly acquired portfolio will benefit from a substantial investment in latest generation technology and new models. Starting with five new model launches in 2022, each brand has a clearly defined strategy aimed at delivering to customers a full suite of models meeting future market demands.

Gowan Group has been involved in motor distribution in Ireland for 52 years, importing Peugeot vehicles since 1969, Opel vehicles since 2019 and DS Automobiles since September 2020. In April of this year, Gowan Group commenced the importing and selling of Stellantis owned Citroen vehicles in Ireland, having previously imported Citroen vehicles to Ireland between 1982 to 2009.

The contract with Stellantis to take over responsibility for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat Professional in the Irish market is an acknowledgement of Gowan’s strong results as the representative for other Stellantis brands in Ireland. It also confirms Stellantis' confidence that Gowan has the ability to grow the market shares of these brands in Ireland.

The newly formed FCA Honda (FCA-H) division will be led by John Saunders, the former sales and marketing director of Universal Honda Ltd.

Speaking at the announcement John Saunders, Managing Director of FCA-H said: "We are very excited to be part of this new chapter for FCA under the new motor division FCA-H. Through its dynamic brands FIAT, FIAT professional, JEEP and Alfa Romeo, FCA is one of the world’s leading automakers and making waves across Europe with some very exciting new models, soon be available in the Irish market.

2022 will be a pivotal year as we get ready to launch the iconic FIAT 500e alongside the all-new JEEP Compass MHEV and the FIAT professional E-Ducato. As we embark on this new adventure, we look forward to welcoming customers old and new into local
dealerships nationwide."


New Car Registrations Up In November 2021

The Toyota Corolla remained a bestseller in Ireland in 2021
The Toyota Corolla remained a bestseller in Ireland in 2021

New data released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry shows that there were 1,131 new cars registrations in Ireland in November 2021, compared to 913 in November 2020, an increase of 23.9%.

So far this year, 104,563 new cars have been registered, compared to 87,724 for the same period in 2020, an increase of 19.2%.

Electric vehicle sales continue to grow, now accounting for just over 8% of the new car market. 195 new electric vehicles were registered in November 2021, compared to 61 in November 2020.

8,533 new electric cars have been registered in Ireland year to date, in comparison to 3,928 in the same period in 2020.

Plug-in hybrids and hybrids also continue to increase their market share, with their combined market share now over 31.62%. Diesel now accounts for 33.50%, petrol for 32.20%, hybrid for 16.19% and plug-in hybrid for 7.27%.

The top 5 bestselling brands in November 2021 were 1. Toyota, 2. Volkswagen, 3. Hyundai, 4. Skoda, and 5. Ford.

The top 5 bestselling models are 1. Hyundai Tucson, 2. Toyota Corolla, 3. Toyota Yaris, 4. Volkswagen Tiguan, and 5. Toyota C-HR.

The bestselling car in November was the Toyota Corolla.

Light Commercials Vehicles (LCV) saw a decrease of 767 registrations compared to 829 in the same period last year. Year to date, 28,424 new LCVs have been registered, an increase on last year’s 21,431.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) saw an increase of 177 registrations in November when compared to 81 in November 2020. Year to date, HGV registrations total 2,649 compared with 2,037 in 2020.

There were 4,445 used cars imported in November 2021, compared with 8,645 imports in November 2020. Year to date, used imports are down 10.7% (59,982) on 2020 (67,149).

Commenting Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General:

“New car registrations for November were ahead of last year for both the month and year to date, although new car sales continue to remain behind pre-COVID levels.

The most positive aspect of the new car market is the ongoing growth in the electric car segment, with a further increase in EV sales anticipated next year. Notwithstanding this, we are still in the early stages of de-carbonising the national fleet and we have a very long way to go to get close to the targets in the Climate Action Plan. In this context, we need to continue year on year growth in EV sales, which in turn will kick start an active used EV market. In order to achieve this, we must both extend the EV supports until there is a critical mass of these cars to create a viable used car market, and implement a tax strategy that supports a much stronger new car market.

The potential benefits of this approach include the acceleration of EV growth, a material reduction in emissions, removal of the worst polluters from Irish roads and increased tax revenues. In a recent address to the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Climate Action, the Society highlighted the importance of the extension of EV supports, the rolling out of a national charging infrastructure, and an increased focus on supporting the business EV market. It is simply too soon to start eroding the current EV supports, but the recent and sudden removal of the PHEV Grant sends a bad signal to motorists and the Industry. It is not too late to reverse this, and we would again urge the Government to re-instate this support for those vehicles that the Industry and consumers have already committed to.”


The FASTER Project

FASTER Project Launches New Website

The FASTER Project
The FASTER Project is improving public electric vehicle infrastructure in three regions across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland

A new website has been launched by the FASTER Project partnership to support motorists and transport users by offering strategic advice and information to facilitate a transition to electric vehicles and sustainable transport systems across Western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland.

The website offers impartial advice to motorists, answers a serious of frequently asked questions about electric vehicle use, allows car users to determine the cost savings they may be able to make by switching to an Electric Vehicle, and presents testimonials and reviews from existing EV owners based on their personal experiences.

Commissioned by East Border Region Ltd, the lead partner on the FASTER Project in collaboration with South West College, the website will evolve over the lifetime of the project in response to user demand and marketplace changes.

Commenting on the launch of the website, Cllr Kyle Savage, Chairperson of East Border Region Ltd said:

"The FASTER Project will revolutionise the public charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in Northern Ireland and the Border Region. We hope to increase public confidence in electric vehicle and sustainable transport use through this initiative and we are delighted that the website is now in place to help those who are considering their carbon footprints and the impact of their vehicle use on the environment to make an informed choice."

Donal Monaghan, Project Officer at South West College added:

"There is a lot of confusion around the various electric vehicle types available on the market and how these vehicles are charged. The FASTER Project website will help alleviate some of the concerns that exist around electric vehicle use and ensure that potential users are better informed when it comes to buying their next vehicle. The potential to make significant cost savings over the lifetime of the vehicle is a key benefit of EV ownership and one of the functions of this website will allow visitors to calculate those potential savings."

The FASTER Project, which has received €6.47 million funding under the European Union’s INTERREG VA programme, will install 73 rapid charging stations (50KW +) across the programme regions. Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department for Transport in Ireland, as well as Transport Scotland.

The website and further information about the FASTER Project can be accessed now at www.fasterEVcharge.com


The new Continental SportContact 7 is now available in Ireland

Ireland's Tyre Market Recovering In 2021

The new Continental SportContact 7 is now available in Ireland
The new Continental SportContact 7 is now available in Ireland

Tyre sales across Ireland were impacted during the Coronavirus pandemic over the last two years, but there are signs the market is recovering according to Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland.

Speaking at a Continental Tyres media briefing, Tom said: "Taking pre-Covid 2019 tyre sales as our baseline, during 2020, the sector saw a drop to 88 percent of the 2019 figure – that is an overall 12 percent drop across all tyre classes including car, SUV and van. Car and SUV tyre sales each saw a reduction of 13 and 14 percent respectively while van tyres were only slightly reduced during 2020 with 95 percent of the 2019 figure."

“We can attribute the drop in sales of tyres for cars, SUVs and vans to the ‘lockdown effect’ of 2020 when many vehicles were parked up for extended periods. The more modest drop in the van tyre segment highlights the increased use of vans during those lockdowns, as online shopping skyrocketed for many consumers leading to increased use of vans for home deliveries. The increased use of vans is responsible for the 2021 rebound in the van tyre segment where sales went up by 124 percent versus the 2019 figure. Car and SUV tyres also saw a more modest recovery in 2021 with the segments registering sales of 94 percent and 102 percent respectively versus the 2019 figures”.

Dennigan highlighted that another interesting aspect of the tyre market in Ireland over the last few years has been the huge growth in sales of ‘all-season’ tyres.

“All-season tyres, tyres that have been developed to provide optimum performance in a temperate climate such as we have in Ireland where we rarely see the levels of extreme cold or hot weather as experienced in continental Europe, have seen significant increases in sales since 2019," says Tom. "In the all-season car tyre segment, the 2020 sales levels were similar to the 2019 figures, but in 2021, sales of all-season tyres for cars jumped by a massive 158 percent."

“In the van segment, the year-on-year growth of all-season tyres is much more pronounced with increases of 374 percent for 2020 and 448 percent in 2021. A significant part of the all-season tyre growth for the van sector is driven by the emergency services, which, over the period, converted to all-season tyres.  However, it is clear that, in general, motorists and van fleet managers in Ireland are increasingly realising that all-season tyres are a good option for our mild climate.”

In terms of tyre size, Dennigan highlighted that 205/55 R16 remains the most popular tyre size in the Irish market - examples of vehicles using this size tyre include the Audi A3, Ford Focus and VW Golf - all popular vehicles in Ireland. When looking at rim size, we see the upward trajectory of larger tyre sizes coming into play. Looking at the situation from 2013 when the top 10 sizes here were dominated by 14", 15" and 16” rims, the figures for this year show that 15” and 16” rims are still very common, taking seven of the top ten positions for 2021. However, the continued growth in rim size is evident in this year’s figures with two 17” and one 18” rim size in the top 10, whereas in 2013, 16” was the largest tyre size in the top 10 for that year.

In tandem with the growth of rim sizes in the Irish market, ultra-high performance or UHP tyres that are specifically engineered for higher-powered cars have also seen high levels of growth over the last six years. Taking 2015 as the baseline for the share of UHP in the new tyre market in Ireland, in the intervening six years, the UHP sales here have grown by an average of 14 percent each year over the 2015 figure, with the pandemic years of 2019 and 2020 showing a 33 percent and 24 percent increase for each year respectively.

Continental’s recently launched, SportContact 7 tyre is an UHP product, with significantly improved dry and wet performance on public roads and on the track; as well as improved mileage and fuel efficiency.