Electric vehicles – time to take a lead

 

Sir, – The news that sales of new electric vehicles have fallen – from 168 in January 2017 to just 104 in January 2018, is very disheartening (“Taxi drivers to get ¤7,000 grant for switching to electric cars”, January 31st).

Electric vehicle sales currently represent a paltry 0.28 per cent of the new car market.

Contrast this poor take-up with the experience in Norway. Electric vehicles represented 39 per cent of new car sales there in 2017. Our lack of progress within this area would be forgivable, had we a local car manufacturing business, or were we on track to hit our emissions targets.

Unfortunately, we are facing fines in the hundreds of millions of euro in 2020.

Norway has demonstrated that incentives matter. These include preferential parking, zero VAT, bus lane and toll road access and zero car tax. The Norwegian government made it a national project to hit the target of 50,000 vehicles by introducing a special incrementing electric vehicle registration plate, so that the whole country could track progress towards the goal.

We have seen positive change led by our governments in the past, in plastic bags and the smoking ban. We have little to lose by trying more radical ideas in incentivising electric vehicle adoption. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY O’NEILL,

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.