Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (662)

Robert Troy

Question:

662. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of vehicles in the State fleet as of 2019; and the number of these vehicles which are fully electric vehicles. [26225/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the National Vehicle File is categorised based on motor tax classifications the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available in the format sought; however, the following relevant data has been extracted from the File. As of the 31st of May 2019 there were 6,573 vehicles registered under the ‘State Owned, Emergency Vehicles and Rescue Vehicles’ tax classification; the Deputy should note that this definition potentially omits many state/public vehicles that are not registered under this tax exemption category. Based on this definition, there are 13 electric “State Vehicles” registered.

The transition to alternatively-fuelled vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs), is a necessary step-change if Ireland is to effect a substantial reduction in transport emissions, particularly in the passenger car sector which accounts for over half of all land transport emissions. In order to expedite the deployment of low carbon technologies, especially the uptake of EVs, my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment jointly convened an inter-Departmental Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce to consider a full suite of potential measures available to Government. The role of public sector leadership in encouraging EV uptake was examined by the Taskforce; it was recommended that the National Procurement Service introduce a new public procurement framework contract for EVs which would allow public bodies to purchase EVs with reduced administrative burden. This recommendation was echoed in the recently published Climate Action Plan (Action 149). It is expected that this measure will promote greater uptake of EVs within the State Vehicle Fleet.

While the initial uptake of EVs in Ireland was relatively slow, there are a range of factors accepted internationally as being barriers to transition to EV technology including limited vehicle choice, range anxiety and low consumer awareness. This slower than anticipated transition to EVs was not Ireland-specific and did not indicate a lack of ambition or support. Increasing range performances, technology advancements, greater affordability and improved consumer choice are beginning to trigger large-scale change. This year we saw a marked increase in EV sales; at the end of May 2019 there were 11,418 EVs were registered on Irish roads (6,892 full battery electric and 4,526 plug-in hybrids).

Beyond the passenger car fleet I am also committed to encouraging greater uptake of low emitting technologies, including electrification, in the public transport fleet. In the urban bus fleet, I have outlined a clear trajectory to low emission buses, with no more diesel-only buses purchased for the urban public bus fleet from next month and by 2035 to only have low emitting buses in the urban PSO bus fleet. We also plan to create a full metropolitan area DART network for the Greater Dublin Area; this is the part of the national rail network that carries over 75% of total rail passengers each year. It will mean high-frequency electrified rail services to Drogheda, Celbridge/Hazelhatch, Maynooth and M3 Parkway, as well as new interchange stations with bus, LUAS and Metro networks. These major projects will help supplement the range of viable low carbon alternatives to private passenger car travel and positively impact on our sectoral emissions profile.