Nissan accuses rivals of undermining Government’s electric vehicle target

Irish importer says plan for 1m electric vehicles by 2030 is ‘wholly achievable’

According to Nissan Ireland: ‘Unfortunately, there has been little or no progress with Ireland’s public charging infrastructure since it was first rolled out a decade ago.’

According to Nissan Ireland: ‘Unfortunately, there has been little or no progress with Ireland’s public charging infrastructure since it was first rolled out a decade ago.’

 

Nissan has attacked rivals in the motor trade for undermining the Government’s policy to put one million electric vehicles (EV) on to Irish roads by 2030.

As part of the Government Climate Action Plan, it has set an objective of having 840,000 electric cars and 100,000 electric vans on Irish roads by 2030.

Nissan said that claims by other car manufacturers that the stock is not available to meet the Government’s EV target only serves to underline their own failure to invest in the future of EV driving and the development and production of new electric vehicles.

According to James McCarthy, chief executive of Nissan Ireland: “The Irish motor industry needs to accept that reality and to get behind the strategy rather than rejecting it because they have not got their own house in order.”

The company, which sells the Leaf electric car, said the target was “wholly achievable” and urged the Government to expedite its investment in the public charging network, to maintain the zero rate BIK and grants for EVs, and to challenge why some manufacturers are suggesting that its target is unattainable.

“Time has caught up with these manufacturers and they need to move on from their default position.”

Nissan also warned that car manufacturers who were not investing in developing electric vehicles were exposed to a new wave of disruption from Chinese manufacturers who looked upon electric vehicles “as a Trojan horse for entering the EU market”.

Registrations

According to Mr McCarthy, when you take account of new cars and used imports, there are 225,000 new registrations in Ireland each year. In a statement, he said that “provides compelling evidence to prove that the Government target is achievable”.

Last year, there were 117,100 new cars sold, of which 3,444 were electric, and of the 113,926 used imports, 644 were electric.

Figures for the first 30 days of 2020 show that, with 27,632 new car sales, 755 are electric vehicles. As for used imports, just 45 of the 6,394 registered in January are electric.

Responding to the comments by Nissan, Brian Cooke, director general of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, maintained the Government’s target for 2030 was too ambitious. “The levels of new car sales are too low to support such high targets at the end of the decade,” he said.

As to whether used electric vehicles imported from other markets could help achieve the targets, Mr Cooke said: “Most markets, including the UK, will want to retain whatever electric vehicles in their fleets to help reduce their own emission levels so it’s likely that most of the used electric cars in the Republic in the next decade will have to be originally registered as new here.”

However, he supported calls by Nissan for the Government to prioritise its investment in the public charging infrastructure and retain grants and tax incentives for electric cars.

Mr McCarthy said: “Countries like Norway have already proven that investment in the charging infrastructure is the most effective way to achieve EV adoption. Unfortunately, there has been little or no progress with Ireland’s public charging infrastructure since it was first rolled out a decade ago.”