Kerry Fianna Fáil TD, John Brassil has said that Ireland is falling behind the rest of Europe when it comes to moving Ireland’s car fleet from petrol and diesel to electric or hybrid.

Deputy Brassil was commenting after receiving a parliamentary response from Minister Naughten on the issue of charging points for electric vehicles.

“Minister Naughten doesn’t seem to want to prioritise the move to electric or hybrid cars.

“At present, there are fewer than 3000 electric or hybrid vehicles in this country. It’s clear that our current efforts will not lead to the uptake in electric car usage that we need to meet our targets.

“The Government’s target of having 50,000 electric or hybrid cars by 2020 will not be met unless there is a drastic change in policy.

“One of the main concerns motorists have about switching to electric or hybrid is the ability to charge up their vehicle without having to spend time looking for a charging point.

“The Minister likes to point to 900 charging points around country that have been installed in recent years.

“What he fails to highlight in the same way is that just 70 of these are fast charging points.

“Asking a motorist to wait a couple of hours or more to charge their vehicle before taking on the next part of their journey is simply ludicrous.

“Minister Naughten needs to roll out more high speed charging points to give would-be electric car owners the confidence they need to make the switch.

“The 2020 target will not be met by incremental increases alone. We need a front loading of incentivisation measures to help motorists make the transition to electric.

“Other countries are moving further and further ahead of Ireland. The future global economic leaders in the 21st Century will be the countries that move to low-carbon economies that are no longer dependent on fossil fuels. Ireland’s not at the races yet,” concluded Brassil.