Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Timmy Dooley TD says the Government must show a greater commitment towards promoting the use of electric cars in 2018.

Deputy Dooley added that a broad range of supports need to be introduced by the Government to encourage people to abandon petrol and diesel vehicles in favour of electric alternatives.

Deputy Dooley said, “Minister Naughten is exclaiming the virtues of the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant. The introduction of this grant is a positive development, but it must be recognised that significant hurdles remain to be overcome for those looking to convert to electric vehicles. The Government needs to introduce a greater package of measures to help incentivise the use of electric vehicles.

“These measures should include the removal of motor tax on electric vehicles for five years, eliminating motor tolls for five years, and rolling out more fast-charge points across the road network to remove any threat of range anxiety. The Government also needs to provide certainty for fleet owners. Minister Naughten has introduced a 0% BIK (Benefit in Kind) rate to help promote the use of electric vehicles, but the legislation in place only provides this for one year. This legislation needs to be extended to five years to give certainty for fleet owners to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

“There also need to be a commitment that the network of fast-charge points will be maintained to a high standard in the years ahead. Many people who have considered moving to electric vehicles have failed to do so as they are worried that the investment in the fast-charging network will not continue, leaving them with an unreliable mode of transport. Access to bus lanes to encourage uptake of electric vehicles in cities also needs to be addressed.

“Ireland’s current target under the EU Renewable Energy Supply Directive is to ensure that 10% of its transport energy comes from renewable sources by 2020. Unless we dramatically increase the widespread use of electric vehicles, Ireland risks failing to meet this target and will be subject to fines from the European Commission.

“We need to see a greater focus placed by the Government on encouraging the use of electric vehicles. Minister Naughten and his colleagues need to be ambitious in this regard, and must not become complacent in thinking that this matter is now dealt with following the introduction of this grant,” concluded Deputy Dooley.