Business Irish

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Government urged to support e-car growth

Charging an electric car with the power cable. Stock image
Charging an electric car with the power cable. Stock image

Paul Melia Environment Editor

SALES of electric vehicles are unlikely to exceed 7,000 by 2020 unless the Government puts in place measures to encourage take-up including free parking, free road tolls and access to bus lanes, the head of Nissan Ireland has said.

James McCarthy said a Government target of 50,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in just four years would not be met without a "coherent strategy", and that Ireland faced fines of up to €6bn from the European Commission for failing to promote renewable forms of transport.

He said EVs accounted for just 619 of the 218,000 new registrations last year, and that failure to meet commitments to reduce transport emissions could result in fines of up to €6bn by 2030. Grants of up to €10,000 are available, and there are 1,200 charging points across the State, but take-up is low due to concerns about range.

"Ireland is failing utterly in its EV strategy and C02 emissions continue to increase as the population and car ownership grows," Mr McCarthy will tell the Transport and Climate Summit today. "20,000 EVs by 2020 is achievable if the government gets serious, takes action and stops making grand statements of intent." He said a requirement that 20pc of fleets purchased by public bodies were EVs, coupled with a benefit-in-kind exemption for business, would help boost sales.

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