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Irish government opens grant scheme to electrify small public service fleet

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A new grants scheme has been launched in Ireland to increase uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country’s taxi, limousine and hackney fleet in an effort to decarbonise the country’s transport sector.

The Electric SPSV (small public service vehicles) Grant scheme was launched yesterday (1 February) and offers drivers up to €7,000 (£6,100) towards the purchase of a full battery or plug-in hybrid EV.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme transport, tourism and sport minister Shane Ross said: “The electrification of the national SPSV fleet will play a significant role in our transition to a cleaner and greener transport fleet.

“Not only will this be beneficial for our environment, in terms of improved urban air quality and reduced CO2 emissions, but reduced running and maintenance costs will also be of major benefit to the drivers themselves”.

Figures from Ireland’s National Transport Authority released in April 2017 showed there were 20,804 active SPSV licences, with analysis from the Irish government suggesting these drivers could save 10% in fuel per kilometre by switching to electric.

For a vehicle clocking up to 55,000km over a year, this would equate to fuel savings of over €5,000 and net reduction in over 3.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

SPSV drivers will also be able to access the grants scheme alongside other incentive schemes, such as purchase incentives up to a value of €10,000 - €5,000 vehicle registration tax relief and a €5,000 grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland – and the lowest band of road tax (€120 per annum), and a SEAI home charger grant up to a value of €600.

Drivers are also able to use the island of Ireland’s 1,200 public charge points which are currently available free of charge.

Minister Ross added that he hoped the grant scheme would also help to develop greater public awareness of EVs, calling it “a great opportunity for members of the public to experience an EV themselves”.

The Irish government will also launch a public engagement programme to ensure the public is aware of the benefits of EVs and the supports that are available. This will be rolled out over 2018 and will include a national awareness campaign, driver experience roadshow, public sector and commercial fleet trials; and supports for electric vehicle use in car sharing trials.

The launch of the scheme was also supported by Denis Naughten, minister for communications, climate action and environment who said it was one of a range of support measures announced by the government to promote a low-carbon electric vehicle future.

The grants scheme forms part of the government’s efforts to ensure that by 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero emissions (or zero emissions capable).

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