Maintaining incentives for EV adoption as well as home charging infrastructure, combined with possible increased taxation on gasoline and diesel engines, are among the recommendations of a government think tank on EV.
The EV Policy Pathway Working Group – made up of seven government departments and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland – looked at a mix of measures aimed at achieving ambitious goals of 180,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads by 2025 and 936,000 by 2030.
The report notes that the pace of electric vehicle adoption in Ireland has accelerated in recent years. Electric vehicle registrations in the first half of 2021 accounted for more than 13 percent of new vehicle registrations, while there are now more than 41,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads. The number of all-battery electric vehicles is slightly ahead of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which have both a traditional motor and a small battery.
The report contains 36 recommendations, including:
- Maintaining existing e-car subsidies, as far as possible for tax purposes, including grants for buying e-cars and charging at home – until at least the end of 2022
- Maintaining the current level of VRT relief and positive vehicle tax treatment until at least the end of 2022
- That additional measures are needed to create more incentives to buy electric vehicles and to reduce the incentives for fossil fuel vehicles
The carrot-and-whip approach was expected by many in the industry, but sources say the lack of a strong focus on introducing additional infrastructure – outside of the home store – was a disappointment.
Many cities in Ireland do not have “fast” chargers that deliver at least 50 kilowatts per hour, while the range of “slow” chargers on the road can take many hours to charge a vehicle. Where fast chargers exist and are most common on highways, there is often only one fast charger per location and online EV groups monitor and report the number of failed chargers.
In terms of charging infrastructure, the report notes that “range anxiety” is a major barrier to EV adoption – a fear that long-distance drivers will not be able to easily refuel or return to base without being stuck on the edge of the road.
The report said: “Home charging is expected to be the primary charging method for most electric vehicles in Ireland and is a convenient, inexpensive and environmentally friendly method of charging”. She states that on-street, on-site and fast-charging infrastructure “needs to be ahead of demand,” especially considering extra-urban needs.
However, a cursory glance at the fast charger map reveals significant gaps in the infrastructure for fast or “fast chargers”, particularly in western or rural Ireland.
Regarding the negative incentives to continue using internal combustion engine vehicles – known as ICEs – the report notes that “calculations can be made to favor electric vehicles by reducing the cost of running an ICE vehicle by increasing taxes on CO2-emitting vehicles Fuels are increased “.
Secretary of State for Climate Action Eamon Ryan said the state’s climate change plan target of reducing emissions from transport by 51 percent by 2030 “requires a big change in the way we travel.” He said he would “encourage people to consider buying an electric vehicle as a concrete contribution to reducing our country’s carbon emissions”.