Government owns just five electric-powered cars

Despite urging people to avoid fossil-fuel cars, State slow to make switch in own fleet

Electric car being charged: just five of the 6,536 vehicles owned by the State are electric-powered. Photograph: Thinkstock

Electric car being charged: just five of the 6,536 vehicles owned by the State are electric-powered. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

Only five of the 6,536 vehicles owned by the State are electric-powered, new figures have shown.

Statistics released by Minister for Transport Shane Ross confirm a poor uptake of electric vehicles by the State over the past three years.

In 2015, five of the State’s 6,162 vehicles were electric, but the figure remained the same in in 2016 when the total number had risen to 6,474 .

This is despite Government Ministers urging consumers to invest in electric cars and introducing financial incentives to try to boost them.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on transport Robert Troy said the figures released by Mr Ross demonstrated a lack of priority from the Government on this crucial issue. Instead of utilising its position to move towards electric cars, the State had failed to increase its investment in this area over the past three years, he said.

“The Government should lead by example and place a significant emphasis on moving away from fossil fuel cars.

Low-carbon technologies

“At the very minimum, it should ensure all new vehicles purchased should be at a minimum hybrid cars or, where possible, electric cars.”

State-owned vehicles range from emergency and rescue vehicles to cars used by Ministers and the President.

Mr Ross said the Government was “very supportive” of the transition to electric vehicles and was considering a “full suite of potential measures to expedite the deployment of low-carbon technologies”.

In addition, a working group is examining how the public sector can lead in this regard and encourage others to increase their uptake.

In last month’s budget, a special zero-tax rating on electric vehicles under benefit-in-kind rules was introduced by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. It was announced as a one-year trial but will now be available for a minimum of three to five years.

Among the other measures being examined by Mr Ross are exempting electric vehicles from tolls and special grants to taxi drivers to replace diesel and petrol vehicles with electric cars and vans.