Call it the “Luck of the Irish” for some 200 Irish businesses that will be able to participate in a free EV loaner program set up by the Irish government. As part of a goal to have roughly 1 million EVs on Irish roads by 2030, the Irish government is aiming to boost the electrification of commercial fleets. A new project will allow Irish businesses to test out electric vehicles for free as part of initiatives aimed at reducing pollution in Ireland.
Under the government’s commercial fleet trial, 200 Irish businesses will receive a free 3-month loan of fully electric cars and vans. The intention is to motivate companies to switch to electric vehicles and support the Climate Action Plan’s goals, while ensuring no upfront cost to the businesses so that they can test the EVs during normal business operations and see the benefits of switching to zero emissions.
Ireland wants to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030, putting the nation on a path to net-zero emissions by the year 2050. By the end of this decade, Ireland’s goal is to have 945,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads as part of this plan. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said an “important component” in achieving this target is the electrification of commercial fleets.
“Change is happening. We are starting to roll out the public transport solutions, the bus services, and the electrification of our transport system. It’s a huge challenge. It is beyond compare. It will require consensus across the country to make decisions about the reallocation of road space, so we get the buses through traffic quickly,” Minister Ryan said. “We’re starting to see traffic come back to those gridlock levels of the past. We cannot for the sake of gridlock or for the sake of climate allow that to happen. We will make the political decisions to promote public transport, to make it safer to walk and cycle, to not just meet those climate targets but to make the country the best.”
Ryan wants to show businesses the road to adopting more sustainable practices can be achieved while not hurting their bottom line. Ryan said, “Businesses up and down the country are already telling us that they are keen to make the switch to more sustainable practices, but they also need to know that the switches they want to make are going to be good for their bottom line. The findings from this trial will give us real-world feedback and provide us with the evidence to encourage even more businesses to switch to electric.”
With the option for businesses to install EV chargers, the trial will use 50 fully electric vehicles, including 30 passenger cars and 20 vans. 14 companies in Dublin, Sligo, Limerick, Louth, Wexford, Cork, Waterford, and Galway will each have a test fleet of four vehicles by the end of the month.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Zero Emissions Vehicles Ireland, a new unit of the Department of Transportation tasked with assisting the transition to electric vehicles, will manage the trial. While the number of electric vehicles in Ireland is increasing, there have been reservations about achieving the challenging EV target of 2030.
“We will get very close to about 950,000 and we’re actually on track to deliver that,” Ryan said this week. “We will next month be launching a new strategy as to how we put in the charging stations — €100 million which we’re going to commit to making it easier for people to do the right thing. It is cheaper by going electric, they are better cars.”
According to research conducted last year, Ireland’s lack of EV charging infrastructure puts it behind other European countries, which could delay the adoption of these vehicles. To change this, the government has been taking action. It recently unveiled a new set of grants and programs to speed Ireland’s switch to electric vehicles, as well as a €15 million islandwide commitment to building 90 rapid EV charging stations across the country.
Ireland’s government seems to have a long road ahead of it to achieve its zero-emission goals. The steps the country is taking seem small compared to other European countries. But it’s a small country. Taking the initiative in developing an EV charging network and a goal to increase the number of electric vehicles is the right path to follow, and you have to start somewhere.
The good citizens of Ireland seem ready to embrace the EV transition. In fact, this past September in Ireland, 36.7% of all new vehicle registrations were plugin vehicle registrations. 29.31% were full electrics and 7.35% were plugin hybrids. That makes Ireland one of the top countries in the world for EV adoption on a relative basis.
Source: Silicon Republic
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