Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
78. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the electric small public vehicle grant scheme has been closed; if the closure is temporary; if so, when it will resume; if the unspent €9 million budget will be carried over to the next year; if it will be in addition to that allocated for 2022; the amount of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53518/21]
79. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason an extension on applications for the electric vehicle grant for taxi drivers was given to those who have committed to buy an electric vehicle costing over €60,000 but was not given to those who have not committed to buy an electric vehicle under €60,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53519/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 79 together.
The aim of the Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (eSPSV) Grant Scheme 2021 is to increase the uptake of fully electric SPSVs and zero-emission capable wheelchair accessible SPSVs. It is aimed at improving air quality in urban areas, together with influencing the uptake of zero emission passenger cars by improving general perception and awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles. The SPSV industry is regarded as a champion in the normalisation of electric vehicle use. The Scheme is funded by the Department and administered by NTA acting as agents of the Department with delegated authority and as the licensing authority for SPSVs.
€15m was allocated to support taxis to switch to electric. Over €8m has now been paid out to applicants under the scheme with the remaining funds committed in the form of provisional grant offers.
Per the Terms and Conditions of the eSPSV Grant Scheme 2021 the scheme may close if funding has reached capacity. The funds have reached capacity for 2021 and therefore the scheme closed as of 30th September 2021.
The Department has funded an eSPSV scheme in previous years and as part of the Budget 2022 it was announced that there will be a scheme available in 2022.
In addition, per the Terms and Conditions of the eSPSV Grant Scheme 2021 any Grant Offer Letter issued to an applicant is valid until the earliest of three calendar months from the date of the Grant Offer Letter, the Scheme End date or 31 December 2021. The three calendar month period has been selected to allow reasonable time for vehicle delivery and completion of the vehicle licensing process.
However, any eSPSV which has an existing grant offer and was due to be delivered in 2021 but has met unforeseen delays due to semi-conductor shortage, may avail of an extension to 31st March 2022. This applies to an eSPSV of any value. Grant applicants should contact the NTA to arrange for this extension in relation to vehicles purchased and due for delivery in 2021.
The allocation of funding to be carried forward into the next year is a matter for the Minister for PER, and I am engaging with him on this matter.