The Government are being urged to rethink its energy efficiency action plan and to implement a series of radical solutions if it is to achieve its target of reducing CO2 emissions and putting 50,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2020. Nissan CEO, James McCarthy, said: “Whilst I applaud the Government on their ambition and the measures they have put in place to date to encourage electric vehicle driving more needs to be done if they are to reach the ambitious target. Abolishing Benefit-in-Kind taxation for employees supplied with electric vehicles as company cars would be one such measure which could seriously move the dial.”
Mr. McCarthy has also urged the Government to retain the €5,000 grant and Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) exemption for zero emission electric vehicles in addition to providing free parking and opening up bus lanes to those who drive the vehicles. “Incentivising motorists to make the switch to zero-emission electric driving works but the Government needs to go further to truly succeed in changing the profile of the national fleet. Nissan sold its 1,000th Nissan LEAF this week but we are only scratching the surface of the potential consumer demand for zero-emission EVs,” said Mr. McCarthy.
“The initial target of having 230,000 cars or 10% of the national car fleet electrified by 2020 was reduced to 50,000 EVs in the 2014 National Energy Efficiency Action Plan. That target is unlikely to be achieved, but there is the opportunity to get there because Ireland has an excellent recharging infrastructure,” he added. “The new target was based on an ‘adoption rate of 0.5% of new EVs in 2014 rising steadily to an adoption rate of 15% of EVs in 2020’. Without initiatives such as BIK incentivisation, which has worked in other countries like the UK and Norway, that is an unrealistic target,” he continued.
“The Government could also certainly go a long way towards achieving its target were it to require all 17,000 taxi drivers operating in Ireland to drive an electric vehicle by 2020. An all electric taxi fleet would be a huge boon to drivers, their passengers and the environment,” said Mr. McCarthy. Nissan has attributed its standing as Ireland’s biggest seller of zero emission EVs to the 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF and its innovative and revolutionary response to the way that Irish motorists think about mobility, the environment and the substantial potential running costs savings that electric driving offers.
“The Nissan LEAF has proven that zero-emission mobility is not a dream but reality. It is affordable and costs just over €200 to drive 20,000 kilometres a year, while its new 30kw battery has increased driving range to 250 kilometres on one charge,” said Mr. McCarthy.