Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

Reduction of Carbon Emissions of 51% by 2030: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Jennifer WhitmoreJennifer Whitmore (Wicklow, Social Democrats)
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I thank the Chair and the witnesses. For the record, I am in the convention centre. I have a question for the witnesses on plug-in hybrid vehicles. These vehicles represent the greatest increase in electric car purchases. We have seen something like a 142% increase in sales of these vehicles in the first three months of this year compared with a 54% in pure EVs. They are still heavily subsidised, although I know their subsidisation is not quite the same as with full electric. However, there is still a grant of €2,500 per vehicle. Reports late last year indicated that plug-in hybrids are not as environmentally friendly as thought and do not have the capacity to reduce emissions to the extent that we believed they had. In that context, I wonder whether witnesses think that there should be subsidisation of plug-in hybrids or whether the focus should be on pure EVs at this stage? There is a risk that people buy these cars in the belief that they are doing the right thing. In a few years’ time, however, they will be pushed to move to full electric. A number of years ago, I bought a diesel car. I did a load of research on it. We were told that diesel was the most environmentally friendly option. I did all the work on it. It was a big investment. I bought a brand-new car and, then, a number of years later, I was told that I had done the wrong thing. Is there a risk with plug-in hybrids that we are subsidising and encouraging people to go down that road?