Life Motor News

Thursday 26 April 2018

Eddie Murphy: Why we need to make sure we don't get 'electric shock' in the changeover to electric cars

Electric car charging
Electric car charging
Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

The much signposted plans to commit the future Irish car park to an electric powered one by 2030 are welcome, as long as we learn from previous forays by Government into major (car) tax changes.

Most specifically, remember July 2008? It heralded the change to a near-dominant position for diesel powered cars thanks to the tax (VRT and road tax) and fuel-efficient savings which came with lower CO2 output engines.

Coinciding as they did with the economic meltdown, the July 2008 tax changes turned out to be the 'killing fields' for a lot of Irish dealerships which overnight had devalued stock and orphaned petrol cars that were way in excess of their natural quota.

The adverse impact on dealer inventory costs and overdraft facilities was a hurdle too far for many household forecourt names.

And the operating environment was not helped by the Irish banks going AWOL.

The buying public also took a bath in the trade-in value of their petrol models.

As chairman and MD of Henry Ford & Son from April 2001 to December 2014, I saw the best of times and the worst of times.

And, for sure, the July 2008 scenario is a repeat-case history waiting to happen unless we have a more orderly pregnancy for the changeover to electric cars.

This can happen piecemeal from (say) 2020 as the supply and performance of electric vehicles becomes more widespread and the dreaded 'range anxiety' ceases to be a driver concern.

Dare I say a scrappage programme to target older diesel vehicles - as long as they are replaced by electric vehicles - would be a good idea?

And we should continue to enjoy short and medium term Government incentives.

The Government plan to get to a 2030 market place where the only new vehicles offered are 'zero emissions capable' is the right one.

But in preparing for that day, we've got to eat the elephant bit by bit.

So let's identify the likely challenges.

And let's have a strategy that is a bit more customer and dealer focused than the one of July 2008.

Indo Motoring

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