Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
179. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of electric buses that are currently deployed for service in Ireland; the geographic area that they are servicing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23985/22]
183. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the total funding provided by his Department in 2022 for electric vehicle feasibility studies for public service obligation routes and non-public service obligation routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23989/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 179 and 183 together.
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including the procurement of the national bus fleet.
Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.
180. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has considered implementing a leasing scheme for electric small public service vehicles or large public service vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23986/22]
Providing a sustainable, low-carbon transport system is a key priority of my Department. The Programme for Government commits to 7% average annual emissions reduction to 2030; ultimately, the goal is for a zero-emission mobility system by 2050. Electrification will be key to achieving this objective in the transport sector.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are the most prominent transport mitigation measure in the Climate Action Plan and Ireland has set an ambitious target of 945,000 EVs on our roads by 2030. This target is challenging but indicates the scale of the transformation that is needed across all sectors if Ireland is to achieve its climate targets in the coming years.
The Department supports the uptake of eSPSVs through the Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (eSPSV) Grant Scheme. 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. 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 in 2022 to support SPSVs to switch to electric.
In addition, to promote the decarbonisation of the heavy-duty sector, and to assist road transport companies to transition from fossil fuels, the Department launched a new Alternatively-Fuelled Heavy-Duty Vehicle (AFHDV) Purchase Grant Scheme in 2021. The Scheme supports the purchase of new large vans, trucks, buses and coaches.
The Scheme, which is administered by TII, is intended to help bridge some of the difference in purchase price between conventional heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and those powered by alternatively-fuelled power-trains that offer environmental benefits over standard diesel vehicle technologies, and that would not otherwise have been bought.
To accord with EU State Aid rules, grant levels under the Scheme are calculated as a percentage of the difference in price between a conventionally-fuelled diesel HDV and its alternatively-fuelled equivalent. Maximum grant levels for eligible vehicles depend on the size of the company or enterprise applying for the grant, and on the fuel-type of the vehicle that the applicant wishes to buy.
€3m was allocated to this scheme in 2021 and given the excellent response to the initiative, a further €3m was allocated this year.
My Department convened the Electric Vehicle Policy Pathway (EVPP) Working Group to produce a roadmap to achieving the 2030 EV target. This Group considered a variety of regulatory, financial, and taxation policies to accelerate EV adoption and recommended that the generous suite of EV supports already in place in Ireland should be retained until at least end-2022. Additional measures to further incentivise EVs and/or disincentivise fossil fuelled vehicles will also be necessary. Cost-effective, targeted policy supports should continue to be developed and strengthened over the coming years.
An Implementation Group has been established to progress the recommendations and consider further potential measures to drive the adoption of the EVs. This Group will report on its progress to Government in Q4 of this year.
In addition, work is underway to establish Zero Emission Vehicles Ireland as a matter of priority. This office will co-ordinate the implementation of existing and future EV measures and infrastructure. Our objective is to develop and refine cost-effective, targeted policy supports over the coming years.
Innovations that provide reliable solutions for people willing to transition to electric vehicles are to be welcomed, particularly if they provide options for people who might be unable to purchase a new vehicle.