In 2017, transport accounted for 19.8% of Ireland's greenhouse gases. We are already over 98% dependent on fossil fuels and as the economy continues to grow, so too does the concern that transport will represent a black spot in the Government's decarbonisation plan.
The Climate Action Plan tries to arrest those concerns and emphasises the need for acceleration in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and the electrification of transport more generally. In order to meet its emission reduction goals by 2030, the government has targeted an increase in the number of EVs to 936,000 comprised of:
840,000 passenger EVs
95,000 electric vans and trucks; and
1,200 electric buses
To facilitate this, the government plans to:
Build an EV charging network to support the growth of EVs at the rate required and
Develop our fast-charging infrastructure to stay ahead of demand.
New non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces will be required to have at least one re-charging point. To support its ambition in this regard, the Climate Action Plan cites the drop in EV battery prices, which have fallen by 79% in the last 7 years and it points to forecasts predicting a further 67% fall by 2030.
The Climate Action Plan emphasises the need for a "modal shift" in efforts to make people less reliant on their cars. To achieve that, a number of projects are designed to make public transport a more realistic option for the public to adopt.
In an effort to reduce emissions and improve air quality, there is a commitment to convert public transport fleets to zero carbon alternatives, with no diesel-only purchases from 1 July 2019, and a roadmap to be set for all public service obligation urban bus fleets to become light EVs by 2035. A Cycling Project Office within the National Transport Authority will be established and it will consider the development of an overall cycling Implementation Plan across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
We await to see how this ambitious EV plan will play out and whether the government's mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in passenger EVs and electric van sales can be achieved within the time-frame stated.
Update as of 28 August 2019
On Monday 26 August, Minister Richard Bruton announced that the Government will fund 1,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points over the next five years. These 1,000 EV charging points do not include the 90 high-speed chargers, 50 fast chargers and the upgrading of over 250 charge points that were promised under the Climate Action Plan. The addition of 1,000 EV charging points to the Government's plans are aimed at encouraging motorists to switch to EVs and reach the ambitious goal included in the Climate Action Plan of having 936,000 EVs on Irish roads by 2030.
The new regulations will require EV charging points to be included in all non-domestic buildings with more than 20 car-parking spaces to install charging facilities. On the domestic front, there will also be an incentive in the form of an EV home charger grant of up to €600, for people who purchase new and second-hand EVs to support the installation of chargers in homes with dedicated parking spaces. The conditions are currently being finalised for the local authority scheme, with a view to applications for funding being opened by the end of next month.