It will feed into a task force that has been established between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and my Department, namely, the low-emissions vehicle task force, which I will discuss in a moment.
In May, the Government approved the publication of the National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland 2017 to 2030. This framework sets an ambitious target that, by 2030, all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will have zero emissions or be zero-emission capable. In November, my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, and I furthered this ambition by pledging to work together to ensure that all passenger cars sold in Ireland from 2030 onwards would be zero-emission vehicles, full stop.
The national policy framework recognises the benefits that electric vehicles can provide in assisting Ireland to achieve energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate mitigation targets. One of the main commitments in the framework is to ensure that levels of access to refuelling or recharging infrastructure will not act as a barrier to the uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles. By setting minimum levels of provision for refuelling infrastructure, the framework works to provide a supportive and enabling environment for suppliers and consumers.
The provision of electric vehicle infrastructure, particularly the availability of public charging points, is a key focus of the work of the low-emissions vehicle task force. The task force is co-chaired by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and my Department and is examining options for infrastructure, regulation and pricing in order to devise a sustainable policy framework for effective and efficient electric vehicle recharging.
Currently, there are almost 70 fast chargers in Ireland out of a total of around 900 chargers. I intend to increase that number significantly. In budget 2018, I secured a doubling of my Department's budget for electric vehicle supports from €5 million to €10 million. A key focus for this is on increased spending in the development of the charging network, with a particular emphasis on fast chargers.
The low emissions vehicle task force is working to develop the best method for supporting the roll-out of fast chargers. In this regard, a stakeholder workshop was held last month to explore issues related to the future requirements for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This workshop included representatives of EV owners, the motor industry, local authorities and other key stakeholders. This is a complex area. It is important not just that we meet the current needs and demands, but that we future-proof this network. A simple initiative that has been taken within my own local authority, by Roscommon County Council, is painting the parking spots for electric charging points because of the number of people who have been parking in them and blocking those up has limited the substantial network that we have across this country. For the size of our country, we have one of the most extensive networks of public electric charging points within the European Union. I accept that we need to look at the issue of fast chargers.
Early in the new year, I expect the low emissions vehicle task force to complete its work on fast chargers and recommend how best to support their roll-out. It is likely that state aid clearance will be required for any Exchequer support. As a result, I expect the roll-out of fast chargers to commence in the second half of 2018. In October of this year, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities published a decision that envisages the future operation of the charging infrastructure on a commercial basis and the sale of the infrastructure by ESB Networks in the long term. However, the continued ownership and operation of the charging network by the ESB for a transitional period of up to ten years is provided for. This will safeguard those who rely on public electric vehicle charging infrastructure and result in as little impact to the network as possible in the short to medium term.
It also enables the ESB to continue to provide electric vehicle charging across Ireland. In addition to the existing charging network and the initiatives led by my Department, large car manufacturers are also expected to become involved in the provision of high-powered infrastructure. A number of providers are likely to emerge onto the Irish market in the coming years. For example, Nissan already has a number of charge points available through its dealer network and Tesla has recently opened its first supercharger location in Ireland.
I thank Senator O'Donnell for raising this important issue. I reassure him that expansion of Ireland's fast charging network is a key priority for me. I also want to say - this is important - from 1 January 2018 a new grant scheme is being introduced through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, for putting in domestic charging points. Up to now, for new vehicles that were purchased, the ESB provided that service for the public. From 1 January 2018, that grant scheme is now going to be available for new vehicle purchases but also the purchase of second-hand electric vehicles. This has been a reason quite a number of people have been looking for charging points. A number of representations Members will have received in their offices are from constituents who are buying second-hand vehicles and who require the public charging infrastructure to charge the vehicle at the moment. They will now, if they purchase the vehicle from 1 January, be eligible to have a charging point installed in their own home.