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Electric Vehicles

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (106)

Cormac Devlin

Ceist:

106. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Transport his plans to expedite the electrification of Ireland’s private car fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53653/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Providing a sustainable, low-carbon transport system is a key priority of my Department. The Programme for Government commits to 7% average annual emissions reduction to 2030; and this is further reinforced through the implementation strategy set out in Climate Action Plan being published this week. Ultimately, the goal is for a zero-emission mobility system by 2050. Electrification will be key to achieving this objective in the transport sector.

Ireland has set an ambitious target of 936,000 EVs on our roads by 2030 that reflects the scale of the transformation needed to achieve its climate targets in the coming years. Under the National Development Plan €1bn has been allocated to specific carbon reduction measures, including vehicle electrification.

On foot of the Electric Vehicle Policy Pathway Report published in September, the Government will continue to provide a generous suite of EV supports until end 2022. In support of this, €100m has been allocated in 2022 to ensure the continued transition to electric vehicles. This is an almost doubling of the provision made available in 2021 and underpins the Government’s commitment to making electric vehicles accessible to all. This funding will continue to incentivise the switch to electric vehicles as well as enabling the expansion of a fast and rapid electric vehicle charging network to stay ahead of demand.

The full report of the EVPP Working Group is now available online.

Considerable progress has been made, as a result of the work of the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce, to ensure that conditions and policies are in place to support citizens in making greener vehicle choices. As the Deputy will be aware, a comprehensive suite of measures is available to EV drivers, including purchase grants for private car owners and taxi drivers, VRT relief, reduced tolls, home charger grants, favourable motor and BIK tax rates, as well as a comprehensive charging network. These measures have collectively contributed to increased take up of EVs in Ireland in recent years, albeit from a low base, to over 45,000 now.

In the meantime, in order to support the transition to EVs, the EVPP Group recommended that:

- The generous suite of EV supports already in place in Ireland should be retained until at least end-2022. Additional measures to further incentivise EVs and/or disincentivise fossil fuelled vehicles will also be necessary. Cost-effective, targeted policy supports should continue to be developed and strengthened over the coming years; and

- An Office for Low Emission Vehicles should be established, as a matter of priority, to co-ordinate the implementation of existing and future EV measures and infrastructure. The new Office should also take charge of developing and launching an extensive communication and engagement campaign, whole of Government in coverage, to drive the availability and understanding of key information regarding EVs, tailored to household, business and public sector consumers.

In support of EV adoption, a National EV Charging Infrastructure Strategy is in development which will seek to prioritise the delivery of fast and rapid charge point infrastructure over the next 5 years. Having an effective and reliable recharging network is essential to enabling drivers to choose electric. Charging at home is the most convenient and cheapest way to recharge. Targeting the installation of smart home chargers is a priority as we look to moving towards more energy efficient and sustainable ways to charge.

There is also a need for a seamless public charging network that will provide for situations or instances where home charging is not possible such as on-street and residential charging, destination charging, and workplace charging.

Overall, both for me and my Department, the expedition of electric vehicles take up is a key priority. To this end, electric vehicle policy and expenditure is kept under continuous review to endeavour to make low emission vehicles a realistic option for individuals purchasing a vehicle.

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