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Is Ireland changing its attitude to electric cars?

In 2015, over 500 new electric cars were supported through the government grant scheme.

IN THE LAST year, over 547 new electric cars have taken to Irish roads.

The uptake in the Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme in 2015 is good news for the government who plan to keep the programme in place for 2016.

This figure represents more than half of the total of cars supported since it began in 2011. In the last four years, just 1,082 electric cars have been supported through grants.

In a parliamentary question, Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White what his plans were to encourage the use of electric vehicles, given the very low take-up of such vehicles by public, commercial and transport interests.

Minister White said the Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme incentivises drivers through grants of up to €5,000.

These grants are in addition to the Vehicle Registration Tax reliefs of up to €5,000 which apply to electric vehicles.

In addition, where technically feasible, customers who qualify for the grant also qualify for a free domestic charge point installed by the ESB.

shutterstock_146626949 Shutterstock / Sopotnicki Shutterstock / Sopotnicki / Sopotnicki

The government recently made commitments in the White Paper on Energy to reduce fossil fuels, and White said electric vehicles could be a key component.

The paper makes reference to a target of 50,000 electric vehicles by 2020. How does he hope to make it close to the target?

He said the extent to which electric vehicles are adopted in the short-to-medium term depends on a range of factors including the strength of the economy, the overall numbers of new cars being purchased, the cost of purchasing and running electric vehicles compared to fossil fuel comparators.

Variety in the market is also important, stating that a higher number of different electric vehicle models should be available to purchase.

“There are signs that these factors are improving,” he said.

The Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme will remain open in 2016.

Mini-poll: Would you buy an electric car? 

Poll Results:

Yes, it has its benefits (2406)
No, I'll stick with the usual (1409)
I don't know (365)

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