Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
75. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rationale behind the removal of SEAI grants for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; the measures that will be put in place to counteract the removal and continue to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53443/21]
The SEAI grant scheme aims to encourage behavioural change and support the Government’s commitment to achieving a 51% reduction in transport emissions by 2030. The grant schemes are kept under continuous review to ensure that they are as effective as possible in driving the decarbonisation effort.
To date in 2021, almost €65m has been provided in grants to support the purchase of electric cars. By year end, this will represent almost a doubling of supports to EVs in 2020.
As a result, the EV percentage of overall car registrations has increased significantly this year and represented over 15% to end Q3 2021. Government is on track as regards the number of vehicles which need to be sold in 2021 to reach its projected annual EV target as set out in the CAP 2019. As of 30 September, there were 45,423 EVs registered in the national fleet.
In the past year, many new BEVs with ranges of over 400km on a single charge have been introduced to the Irish market. Range anxiety is no longer an issue for electric vehicle purchasers, and while PHEVs provided an interim option, but emit both CO2 and air pollution emissions, this interim option is no longer necessary. Government supports should be provided to full electric vehicles, which will be the most effective means of reaching our carbon reduction pathway.
I announced after the budget that grant support for PHEVs will be removed from 1 January 2021. Any PHEV which registers for the grant in accordance with the scheme rules before this date will be approved and the commitment carried forward into Q1 2022. However, from 1 January 2022 the SEAI will no longer accept grant applications in respect of PHEVs.
For the top 10 PHEVS sold in 2020, four are high cost vehicles for which a grant would not be applicable and two have a direct BEV equivalent, that would be more useful in terms of decarbonizing the car fleet. Of the four remaining, three are made by manufacturers that have an equivalent size BEV model and only one model has no BEV alternative in its range.
Under the Terms and Conditions of the grant process, drawdowns normally need to be made by year end (31 Dec). However, due to the slowdown in global car manufacturing, I am extending this drawdown date to 31 March 2021, to allow time for customers to take final possession of the vehicle.
A range of incentives are in place to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles including:
- VRT relief of up to €5,000 for BEVs;
- A grant of up to €600 towards the installation cost of a domestic charge point for new and second-hand BEVs or PHEVs;
- A low rate of motor tax;
- BEV and PHEVs qualify for 50% and 25% toll reductions respectively up to a maximum €500 annual threshold for private vehicles and a maximum annual threshold of €1,000 for commercial vehicles (greater off-peak rates also apply to the M50 toll);
- BEVs qualify for a 0% Benefit-in-Kind rate up to €50,000 without mileage conditions;
- BEV/PHEVs and their associated recharging infrastructure qualify under the ACA scheme and;
- A grant of up to €10,000 to support the purchase of a BEV in the taxi/hackney/limousine sector with an additional €2,500 available for those choosing to make their vehicle wheelchair accessible. Those scrapping older, more polluting, or high mileage vehicles are now eligible for double the normal grant if they make the switch to electric with up to €20K available for a new BEV, €25K for a new wheelchair accessible BEV and €15K for a new wheelchair accessible PHEV.