Government’s 2030 electric car target is ‘impossible’, despite sales surge

11 Sep 2019

Image: © fottoo/

The motor industry has warned that the Government’s plan to have almost 1m EVs on Irish roads by 2030 just doesn’t line up with reality.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published the latest sales figures for cars sold between January and August of this year, showing a surge in electric vehicle (EV) ownership.

A total of 2,758 EVs were sold so far this year and, while paling in comparison with sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, it was almost triple what was sold during the same period last year. Sales of hybrid vehicles also saw a considerable boost from 6,920 to 10,174, putting non-ICE cars at 12.5pc of new cars sold in Ireland so far this year.

However, while estimates have suggested there could be as many as 8,000 EVs on Irish roads by the end of 2020, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has written a letter to the Government warning that its big ambitions laid out in the Climate Action Plan will hit a major roadblock.

As reported by The Irish Times, the letter sent to all members of the Oireachtas this week said that the plan to have almost 1m EVs on Irish roads by 2030 was “impossible”.

Lack of supply

The Government’s plan is to stop the sale of new ICE vehicles in 2030 and for all existing polluting vehicles to be barred from receiving their NCT from 2045, effectively banning them from Irish roads.

The letter said that achieving 950,000 EVs – of which 840,000 would be passenger cars – is totally unattainable, as the 2030 deadline is totally out of line with the target set by manufacturers to have their productions EV-focused by 2040. This will mean “the supply and pricing of electric vehicles will not be available in the medium term,” the letter said.

Attempts to increase taxes for ICE cars to push people to buy EVs is flawed as the tax for these cars is “already outside of the disposable income of the vast majority of the population”, SIMI argued. It added that current EVs are prohibitively expensive and in short supply, meaning that such a drastic transition isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, the ESB is expected to announce some time this month how much it will cost to charge EVs at public charging points. Since their launch, the network has been free for EV owners to encourage their use and because of the small number of these vehicles in the country.

Back in 2015, the ESB cancelled a planned monthly payment scheme for public charging points after receiving considerable backlash from EV owners.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic