Electric car owners will escape toll charges on routes in the coming months while motorists could also get access to free parking for their fossil fuel-free vehicles, writes Political Correspondent Juno McEnroe
Communications Minister Denis Naughten has predicted initiatives and incentives for electric cars would likely see their number on Irish roads increase by a third this year.
As of from today, buyers of both new and secondhand electric cars will also be able to avail of a government grant to install a home charger for their vehicles.
Asked about a previous promise to waive toll charges on motorways for electric cars this year, Mr Naughten said: “The intention is to implement that.”
He said this would initially apply to electric car users on the M50 around Dublin but he “absolutely” wanted to see this initiative expanded and applied to other routes.
His department and the Department of Transport are also examining if electric car owners could avail of free parking in some parts of the country. However, this move has been complicated so far by differences between public and private parking areas as well as a desire by city planners to try and keep cars out of urban areas, he explained.
The electric vehicle home charger grant will be expanded to include second-hand electric cars purchased as of from today. This could save drivers up to €600.
Home charging allows electric car owners to charge their vehicles overnight at a low cost. For owners without access to these chargers, a network of nearly 900 public charge points is available and will be expanded this year.
Mr Naughten stated: “The home charger grant is just one of the support measures the Government announced last year which comes into effect today, aimed at promoting a low-carbon electric vehicle future.”
There are an estimated 3,500 electric vehicles in Ireland. Mr Naughten told the Irish Examiner he expects this number to grow by a third this year with further incentives for buyers coming on board. Demonstration electric cars will also be rolled out across the country this year, to encourage families to buy them.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved