Provided by Independent.ie

A few days ago a forecast we’d be buying 25,000-plus new electric cars in 2021 seemed like a dramatic, perhaps overstated, pronouncement.

Now, after the Climate Action Plan was revealed, it seems like a moderately tuned self-fulfilling prophecy.

According to Volkswagen, the country’s largest motor group, more than one-in-five (21pc) new cars bought in 2021 will be electric vehicles (EV).

The increase was predicated on a flood of brand new EV models – as well as people deciding, or being persuaded through tax measures, the time has come to switch from petrol and diesel.

How many more will the Government plan add to that figure? The only thing restricting EV purchase is lack of batteries and models.

Even as Volkswagen Ireland Group MD Carla Wentzel was ticking off the progression of EV buying last weekend, the Government was adding volume to expectations. From EV sales this year of just 3pc of the total new-car market, there will be a rise to 7pc next year and then the 21pc the year after, she confirmed.

It also looks certain most people will use a PCP, HP or lease deal to buy – electric or not – judging by figures just released. They show people spent €350m on financing their purchases with the VW Group’s bank so far this year – a 15pc increase on the corresponding period in 2018.

Even though new-car sales are down, a higher proportion of people are going the PCP/lease route. The substantial figure also reflects large numbers of used cars being financed via the bank.

It is being projected that overall lending will expand to €600m by the end of the year.

Ms Wentzel also spoke to me of the enormous changes the industry faces to “future proof” their businesses.

“Traditionally, the motor industry has been ‘car centric’. Now we need to build our business around the customer. That means changing lots of things,” she said.

The challenges are many and multifaceted. For example: “How do we customise motoring? How do we provide a useful service beyond just making and providing a car?”

Provided by Independent.ie