Government finalises electric vehicle grant scheme

19 Apr 2011

The electric vehicle grant scheme has been approved by Government. The scheme, which had been held up over the past few months, now means that all vehicles with CO2 emissions of less than 75g CO2 per km will be eligible for a purchase subsidy of up to €5,000 – welcome news for Ireland’s clean transport agenda.

Qualifying vehicles sold after 1 January 2011 are eligible for the grant, and a total of €5m has been allocated. All-electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF and the ESB ecar, which is powered by Mitsubishi i-MiEV, will be eligible for the grant scheme. This means they will cost the consumer about €29,995 following the €5,000 grant reduction.

The Government is offering these grants through Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in addition to the VRT reliefs and Accelerated Capital Allowances currently available for battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).  

The scheme is cash limited and will operate on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. The operation of the scheme in 2012 will be a matter for consideration in the context of Budget 2012, according to the Government.

Information about the grant process is available from SEAI, which has also published a Buyers Guide and a Cost of Ownership Calculator to aid individuals interested in purchasing electric vehicles.  

Speaking at today’s announcement, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte TD said that this scheme will lay the foundation for greener transport.

“Electric vehicles will reduce Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels in the transport area and will also in future play an important role in reducing our transport sector emissions.”

Clean energy leadership

The Government has set an aim of having 10pc of vehicles (approximately 220,000 cars) powered or part powered by electricity from the grid by 2020.

ESB is taking charge of the initial rollout of up to 1,500 charge points nationwide by December 2011 and there are plans to install up to 30 fast charge points across Ireland by the end of 2011.

And for the first 2,000 ecars that are purchased, ESB is also going to install a home charger for free.

“Typically, the running costs of an electric car are one-fifth the cost of the price of a petrol car to run. So, if you are charging a car at night using night-rate electricity, it is only two to three cents per kW hour. The savings would be roughly €1,500 per year on fuel, depending on mileage,” explains Paul Mulvaney, managing director, ESB ecars.

To see a video of the ESB ecar in action, and an in-depth interview with ESB’s Paul Mulvaney, click here.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic