Electric cars for business tax deductible


A PACKAGE of incentives to encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles was unveiled in Dublin city centre by Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan and Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey yesterday.

Under a scheme to cut the State's €6 billion annual bill for imported fossil fuels, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions, businesses which purchase electric vehicles will be able to write off 100 per cent of the cost against tax.

However, the tax write-off will not be available to individuals purchasing electric vehicles. Nor will the Government's €1,000 tax free allowance for the purchase of bicycles cover electric bikes.

Commenting on the exclusions yesterday Mr Ryan said he had nothing against electric bicycles, but was "here to talk about electric cars".

Mr Ryan said Ireland was almost uniquely placed with "a massive renewable wind resource that we can tap into. We can store that at night, plug in our vehicles, power up the battery, and then have a cheap form of fuel the next day".

A national taskforce is to be set up to identify options for the roll out of infrastructure. Currently, single-phase electric vehicles can be plugged in to domestic supply lines. But the Government also wants to see a State-wide network of filling stations where drivers of electric cars can plug in and recharge.

Mr Ryan said it was already possible to drive from Dublin to Galway on an electric battery, but he wanted to see places where drivers could stop along the way and top up on fuel.

The Government will also provide Sustainable Energy Ireland with a budget of €1 million to research and promote electric vehicles.

Responding to the question about the exclusion of individual users of electric vehicles from the tax breaks, Mr Dempsey said individuals would have the benefit of lower fuel costs and environmental benefits.

Among the vehicles on display yesterday were "city cars". These are suitable for use in the city, have typical charging times of six hours and provide a maximum speed of about 64km/h, with a range of about 80km.

Also on display was an electrically powered Transit van, and a scooter. Some electrically powered vans already available in Ireland have a range of 150km and a top speed of 120 km/h - the upper legal speed limit available in the Republic.

The Government has set a target of 10 per cent of all vehicles to be electrically powered by 2020, a figure which Mr Dempsey said would be difficult to achieve.

The figure represents some 250,000 electric cars coming into use over the next 12 years.

The Ministers said they believe the willingness of small states such as Ireland, Denmark and Israel to incentivise the use of electric vehicles would encourage vehicle-manufacturers to speed up development and production of mainstream electric vehicles.