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Motorists wanting to switch to a new electric vehicle (EV) could face a wait of up to a year to get one because manufacturers cannot make enough to meet demand.

Industry experts agree that the take-off in EV buying will be hampered by scarcity for the next 12 months at least.

Such is the high level of demand and enquiries that several motor import executives have told the Irish Independent they could readily sell a lot more EVs – if they could secure them.

Even allowing for that drawback, the executives are still forecasting a doubling of EV buying in 2020.

That would amount to 7,500 to 8,000 vehicles, or 7pc of the entire predicted level of new car purchasing for the year.

Analysts are predicting a total of 120,000 new car registrations in 2020.

They also expect an initial lift from the ‘feel-good’ factor of purchasing a new car in the first year of the 2020s.

It has been noted that, since mid-2019, there was a hold-back by some buyers waiting for a ‘201’ registration plate.

Other factors, such as Brexit uncertainty, also affected consumer sentiment and potential buyers cautiously held off.

That was not the case with EV buyers, who grew exponentially month-on-month all year – and should do so again in greater numbers in 2020.

They are likely to set the headlines as we enter the decade, by the end of which only the sale of electric new cars will be allowed under current Government plans.

Several industry experts contacted by the Irish Independent forecast an increase of 150pc – possibly 180pc – in EV sales over the coming year.

Those percentage rises are coming off relatively small numbers. EVs’ share of the market went from a mere 1pc in 2018 (more than 1,200 cars) to 3pc (3,500 models) in 2019.

But they are speeding up and experts predict at least a doubling to 7pc for 2020.

In 2021, the real EV take-off is expected, with as many as one in five new car purchases to be powered solely by battery. However, the vast majority of new vehicle purchases in 2020 will still be diesel, petrol or hybrid.

It will not be a surprise if fewer people again buy a diesel in 2020. Diesel buying fell from 54.4pc of all new car registrations in 2018 to 46.6pc in 2019. Some marques, however, such as Skoda, are now reporting a swing back after a more benign Budget and the replacement of a 1pc surcharge with a NOx tax.

Petrol buying is not rising dramatically – up from 38.5pc to 40.6pc in 2019. A small increase is forecast for 2020.

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