Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Defence

Electric Vehicles

12:00 pm

Photo of Ciarán CuffeCiarán Cuffe (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)
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Question 270: To ask the Minister for Defence if he has entered into an arrangement for the purchase of electric vehicles in 2009 to 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44016/09]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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The Government has set a target of 10% of all vehicles to be powered by electricity by 2020. I understand that a Taskforce on electric vehicles has been established, comprising a number of Government Departments and Agencies, to advise on the options and timeframes for putting in place the necessary infrastructure and other arrangements for the national roll-out of electric vehicles in a cost effective manner. I have been advised that the Taskforce will report its initial findings very shortly and will advise on the next steps, overall costs and financial implications.

The Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have not entered into an arrangement for the purchase of electric vehicles in the period 2009 to 2010.

Technical developments in the transport industry are monitored by the relevant technical personnel in Defence Forces Headquarters and they keep abreast of these developments and innovations through the motor industry and contacts with other military forces abroad. As the technology of electric engines develops, saloon cars and vans may become available which can successfully compete in tender competitions for the supply of vehicles to the Defence Forces in the future. However, there are a number of difficulties with the adoption of such technology across the wider range of vehicles deployed by the Defence Forces.

The technology to power heavier vehicles such as trucks and armoured personnel carriers with electrical engines is not as yet available and military forces throughout the world still rely on internal combustion engines. Departure from international military norms by the Irish Defence Forces would pose serious difficulties in relation to interoperability when our personnel serve overseas as part of a larger multi-national force.

In addition, power supply for charging of electric vehicles overseas on peace support operations in regions such as Chad, where electrical supply must be supplied by diesel powered generators, would pose an insurmountable challenge at present. Use of diesel generators to charge electric vehicles would also negate any benefit provided by the adoption of electric vehicles.

The Defence Forces are in a similar situation to other military forces, insofar as they are reliant on internal combustion engines for the moment, however, they will continue to monitor developments in technology and their application and adoption by military forces throughout the world.


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