Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1552)

Éamon Ó Cuív


1552. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the consultations he had with motor manufacturers on his plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars in 2030; if he is satisfied they will have the capacity to provide the required number of cars for the Irish market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34906/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The transition of the national fleet to alternatively fuelled vehicles, particularly in the passenger car sector, is a necessary step-change to effect a substantial reduction in transport emissions. The switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is a key mitigation measure in the recently published Climate Action Plan, with an ambitious target of 180,000 EVs on our roads by 2025 and 936,000 EVs by 2030.

While these are very challenging targets, it is expected that we will see improvements in technology, reductions in purchase prices, increased driving range and model availability, coupled with Government incentives and investment in the recharging network. Accordingly, I am convinced that we can make real progress towards the target by 2030. In fact, we have seen significant growth in the number of EVs taking to the road in recent months. This year alone there are 5,000 extra EVs on the road bringing the total to over 12,500 (plug-in hybrid and fully electric passenger cars, vans, taxi/hackneys and motorcycles).

Analysis underpinning the Climate Action Plan assumes c.10-15% of total car registrations will be electric between 2021 and 2025 with a significant ramp-up in EV registrations from the mid-2020s after Total Cost of Ownership parity has been reached. The Plan suggests that all new car registrations will be EVs in 2030. Undoubtedly, concerted efforts across several Government departments will be essential if we are to maintain a supportive environment to assist citizens in making the greener choice and moving away from conventionally fuelled vehicles.

In accordance with Action 79 of the Plan my Department will lead the development of a Roadmap identifying the optimum mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in passenger EVs and electric van sales from very early in the next decade. A Steering Group of key Government departments will be established before year-end to pursue this, which will be pivotal in placing Ireland on the necessary trajectory to meet our targets for EV deployment by 2030.

I expect that car manufacturers will be stepping up their production of electric and alternatively-fuelled vehicles over the next few years. A recently introduced EU Regulation sets a 2030 production benchmark of at least 37.5% of all new cars and 35% of all new vans being zero emission. This increase in manufacturing will mean that more vehicles will be available for Irish consumers to purchase.

Regarding consultation with the motoring industry, it should be noted that I receive multiple representations from the sector, and have also met with groups and stakeholders from the motor industry. Furthermore, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) and representatives from the freight transport industry (FTAI and IRHA) were invited to contribute to the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Taskforce, co-chaired by my department, which aims to consider the range of options available to Government to accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies in the road transport sector. These meetings and representations are generally considered as important contributions to information sharing and the formation of meaningful, well-balanced policies.

My Department and I will continue to work closely with Ministers Bruton and Donohoe and their respective Departments to map out the transition pathway necessary to achieve our collective ambition to alternatively fuel our vehicles and decarbonise the transport sector.