Thursday, 18 February 2021

Ceisteanna (82)

Emer Higgins

Ceist:

82. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Transport the steps he is taking to encourage the expansion of and investment in the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles which is essential for facilitating the necessary take up of such vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9257/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Government’s policy regarding the increased usage of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is primarily driven by the Climate Action Plan which sets a target of 936,000 EVs by 2030.

To support these EVs, a network of 690 publicly accessible charge points is already available including circa 100 fast chargers, which are mainly found on national routes. The majority of these chargers have been rolled out by the ESB through its eCars programme, with some public chargers being provided by local authorities, retail outlets and private companies.

The Climate Action Fund (CAF) has also allocated up to €10 million to a project from ESB eCars that will further enhance its current network and complete a nationwide EV charging network capable of facilitating large-scale electric vehicle uptake over the next decade. In addition to the CAF project, the Government is also providing support for home charging and on-street charging.

Home charging is considered the primary method of charging for the majority of EVs in Ireland and is a convenient, cost effective and environmentally-friendly means of charging, especially when using night-rate electricity. It accounts for circa 80% of EV charging sessions and will continue to be the primary method of charging in the future. The EV Home Charger Grant Scheme has been in operation since January 2018 to support the installation of home chargers for purchasers of new and second-hand BEVs and PHEVs. The grant provides generous support towards the full cost of installation of a home charger, up to a maximum of €600.

Currently, work is being progressed to expand the EV Home Charger Grant to include shared parking (e.g. in apartment blocks). There are a number of complex planning issues to address before it will be possible to expand this grant and the Department and the SEAI are working to address the issues involved.

Since September 2019, the Public Charge Point Scheme has been in place to provide funding to local authorities for the development of on-street public chargers. The primary focus of this scheme is to provide support for the installation of infrastructure which will facilitate those owners of EVs who do not have access to a private parking space but rely on parking their vehicles on public streets to charge their EVs near their homes. Infrastructure installed could also provide the opportunity for people visiting the area to park and charge their EVs.

In addition, the Department is also making €2 million available this year through the SEAI to support the installation of destination charge points in locations such as hotels and shopping centres. This new initiative will help provide another critical link in the overall network for public charging.

Finally, the Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government published in June last year, commits to publishing an electric vehicles infrastructure strategy. Once completed, the strategy will provide a key framework for ensuring we continue to have sufficient infrastructure in place to keep ahead of demand, while also ensuring that appropriate planning and development guidelines are followed in providing the necessary capacity. It is envisaged that the strategy will be published this year.