Incentivising use of electric cars


Sir, – Letter-writer Anthony O’Neill (February 3rd) contrasts Ireland’s poor take-up of electric cars with the successful initiatives re same in Norway. Your letter-writer argues that we need to offer similar incentives to Norway’s if we are to meet our climate targets and avoid paying fines in the hundreds of millions of euro. I do not share the author’s faith in incentives.

The problem in my opinion lies not in the lack of incentives but in the lack of infrastructure, ie particular charging-points. It must be remembered that home -charging is not an option for many would-be purchasers of e-cars. In order to install a home charging point at present you need to own your own home and it needs to have a driveway or rear entrance. Thus, homeowners who live in terraced properties or who are renting need access to workplace or on-street-charging.

However, such on-street or workplace charging is not easily available.

On July 27th last, Tim O’Brien, in an article headlined “Ireland’s electric vehicle targets need to be driven – not clamped”, stated that there were only 900 charging points in the Republic, of which only 70 are fast-charging, and that more pertinently, the ESB has no plans to expand this number pending a decision by the energy regulator on charges for charging.

Mr O’Neill claims that we have little to lose by trying more radical ideas to incentivise e-vehicle adoption. I beg to differ. If for example, we allow e-cars in bus-lanes, I would contend that bus passengers and cyclists have a lot to lose. Allowing preferential parking would do nothing to ease traffic congestion – 1,000 e-cars will take up the same road-space as 1,000 regular cars.

I’m not sure that even the newly announced incentives to taxi-owners will work until the charging difficulty is sorted.

Someone who drives for a living is going to need a vehicle with a good range and fast-charging.

The manufacturers are looking after the former; the Government needs to look after the latter. – Yours, etc,