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Ministers Naughten and Ross reaffirm commitment to Electric Vehicle transition

‘Working to ensure all new passenger cars sold in Ireland from 2030 onwards will be zero emission vehicles’

As the Citizen’s Assembly meet this weekend to consider the challenge of decarbonising transport, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, TD and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, TD welcome their engagement with what the Government considers “one of its most pressing challenges”. They indicated that they are looking forward to the report and recommendations of the Assembly on both tackling emissions reduction in transport and the role of citizen engagement in addressing the challenges of climate change.

The Ministers pointed out that “a series of measures announced in Budget 2018 clearly reflected this Government’s determination to make progress on decarbonising transport”:

  • Enhancing the capacity and quality of public transport to ensure that – where feasible – our increased transport demand is met by greener public transport (over €400m to be invested in public transport infrastructure in 2018 / 4 year capital envelope of €2.7bn)
  • Investment of over €100m committed to a multi-annual urban cycling and walking programme to support a move away from private car use
  • As recommended by the Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce a suite of tax and expenditure measures was announced to clearly indicate the Government’s commitment to a low-carbon electric vehicle (EV) future.

Government EV Package
Despite generous supports in place, the pace of EV take-up has been slower than expected. However, the speed of technology advancement is picking up, battery range is rapidly increasing, costs are falling and better vehicle choice is widely signalled. To ensure Ireland is well placed to take advantage of this favourable situation Budget 2018 contains a package of measures to promote a low-carbon electric vehicle future. They are:

  • Continuing the current valuable and generous VRT reduction and SEAI purchase grants
  • A new grant to support installation of home charger points for buyers of new and second-hand EVs
  • A new EV Taxi Grant and supporting measures to stimulate take-up in the high visibility Taxi /Hackney/Limousine (SPSV) sector
  • A new Electric Vehicle Public Awareness Programme to include driver experience opportunities
  • Public sector and commercial fleet trials allowing public bodies and business to trial EVs
  • The National Procurement Service to introduce a new public procurement framework contract for EVs in 2018 to allow public bodies to purchase EVs with reduced administrative burden.
  • A new Benefit in Kind (BIK) 0% rate to incentivise Electric Vehicles without mileage conditions for at least three years. The BIK rules will ensure that there is no BIK liability associated with recharging EVs in workplaces.
  • A new toll incentive regime to incentivise ultra-low emitting cars – details to be agreed with Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce

Minister Naughten also announced additional funding to support the provision of public charging, the details are being examined by the Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce. Key objectives are both supporting the continued operation of the current charging network and supporting the expansion of the charging network with a particular focus on increasing the number of rapid chargers.

2030 Ambition
The Ministers added: “In addition to the lower running costs of electric vehicles, these incentives will help encourage people to choose an electric option when purchasing a new vehicle. But incentives alone will not be enough. A clear signal must go out to both the motor industry and purchasers of vehicles that fossil fuel vehicles will soon no longer be a viable option.”

The National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland was published in May 2017 and provides such a signal. It sets our ambition that from 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero emission (or zero emission-capable).

Minister Ross and Minister Naughten believe that an even greater level of ambition must be set in keeping with the Programme for Government’s objective that Ireland becomes a leader in the take-up of electric vehicles.

The Ministers committed “to work together to ensure that all new passenger cars sold in Ireland from 2030 onwards will be zero emission vehicles”, demonstrating Ireland’s commitment to decarbonise the transport sector and the economy as a whole.