Extra grants for electric car buyers

Grants to encourage second-hand electric vehicle purchases, toll discounts for electric car drivers, and work tax reductions to incentivise the use of non-fossil fuel vehicles are set to be included in the budget.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten is driving a clean energy initiative for the budget which is close to being finalised. The package will also see new supports for the use of electric vehicles as taxis and electric car sharing options like the Dublin bike scheme.

Up to €30m more will be allocated for home retrofitting and insulation programmes.

The final details are being agreed between the Departments of Finance, Transport and Environment.

The Irish Examiner has learnt existing grants, up to €5,000, will remain for electric vehicle purchases. But secondhand buyers will now get a grant for domestic charge points at home. Charge point installations are currently free, but only for new vehicle purchases.

Vehicle owners will also get discounts using tolls nationwide while there will also be supports for the use of electric vehicles as taxis.

Finance is finalising tax incentives involving benefit-in-kind to encourage the purchase of more electric cars.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said earlier this year that an inter-departmental taskforce was looking at options. He said at the time that the role of taxation, including benefit-in-kind, was being considered. Benefits-in-kind are generally non-cash bonuses or refunds for employees but they are treated as taxable income. It is thought the plan could see the installation of charge points in work or mileage accrued deemed exempt from being treated as BIK.

There will also be electric car sharing schemes in Dublin and Cork, where non-owners can use vehicles for short journeys. Up to 100 cars may be rolled out in the coming months.

The measures form part of the national mitigation plan to tackle climate change, which includes a commitment that all new cars and vans sold here from 2030 will be zero emission or zero emission capable. There are currently just over 3,000 electric vehicles here.

While many of the initiatives come under the control of Transport Minister Shane Ross, the environment minister has pushed for changes.

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