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New plans to jump-start wider use of electric cars

THE Government is to unveil a package of special incentives to promote electric car sales in view of fewer than 700 having been sold here in five years.

The package is expected to include enhanced levies to further lower electric car costs as well as operating rewards including free street parking while charging and priority lane use.

Coupled with efforts by major manufacturers including Renault, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and BMW to extend the e-car range, the package aims to ensure one-in-10 cars sold in Ireland by 2022 will be electric.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, an e-car ESB brand ambassador, said the Government was determined to exploit "the potential of the sector".

"We only have 600 or 700 electric cars in the country, but that is going to dramatically change," he said.

Ireland ranked as the worst of 17 EU member states surveyed for the take-up of e-cars last year. Only 58 electric cars were sold here last year.

Renault, which has the greatest range of e-cars, said it still expected more than 200,000 to be on Irish roads by 2022.

"You will see some very big initiatives over the next couple of months to promote electric transport," said Mr Coveney.

After using a Nissan Leaf, the Cork TD is now driving a hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander.