28 August 2018
By Elaine Murphy
The new Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action will consider ways in which the Government can further support the transition to electric vehicles, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Seanad spokesperson on Climate Action, Senator Lombard, said: “We all know the cost of running a car to our pockets with fuel, tax and insurance. But what is the cost to the environment?
“Earlier this year, 96% of the members of the Citizen’s Assembly recommended that the State should immediately take steps to support the transition to electric vehicles.
“I would like the Climate Action Committee to explore what else we can do to support motorists choosing electric vehicles, who are driving change every time they turn on the ignition.
“From last month, drivers of electric cars have seen their toll charges halved in a nod to their environmental impact.
“Motorists can avail of grants of up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new electric vehicle and up to €5,000 VRT relief.
“They will also benefit from the lowest road tax band at €120. A home charge point grant of up to €600 is also available.
“Businesses should be aware that there is zero Benefit in Kind for company battery electric vehicles, while taxi drivers can avail of a purchase grant of up to €7,000.
“Many still choose traditional diesel or petrol engines because they are believed to be more economical – even as the cost of ownership of electric cars goes down.
“This new funding is helping to offset this cost and allow more people to access a sustainable, and more cost-effective, method of transportation.
“There are currently over 6,000 electric vehicles registered in the State – over 60% more than we had last year. We must look at how we can encourage this uptake further.”
Senator Lombard continued: “Public charging has been free since 2010 and there are well over a thousand charging points around the country.
“But I believe there should be more and even faster charging points to make electric cars more convenient for customers, especially in rural areas.
“The more visible and plentiful charging points are – the more realistic an option the change to electric vehicles becomes for people.
“This is something we will explore further on the Committee, as well as other new policies to protect our environment and ensure Ireland becomes a leader in this area.”
Senator Lombard concluded: “The National Development Plan commits the Government to no new non-zero emission cars to be sold in Ireland post 2030.
“In effect, there will be a ban on tailpipes on new cars from 2030. We will become the first EU country to do so. It is intended that no NCT certificate will be issued for non-zero emission cars post-2045.
“That is one of the most ambitious commitments on zero emissions on passenger cars in the entire EU.
“There will also be a transition to a low emission urban bus fleet, including electric buses, with no diesel-only buses purchased from 1 July 2019.
“The low-carbon, climate resilient transition ahead will require a societal transformation and engagement with wider society on an ongoing basis will be vital as we drive change.”