In 2017, transport accounted for 19.8% of Ireland's greenhouse gases. We are already over 98% dependent on fossil fuels and as the economy continues to grow, so too does the concern that transport will represent a black spot in the Government's decarbonisation plan.
The Climate Action Plan tries to arrest those concerns and emphasises the need for acceleration in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and the electrification of transport more generally. In order to meet its emission reduction goals by 2030, the government has targeted an increase in the number of EVs to 936,000 comprised of:
- 840,000 passenger EVs
- 95,000 electric vans and trucks; and
- 1,200 electric buses
To facilitate this, the government plans to:
- Build an EV charging network to support the growth of EVs at the rate required and
- Develop our fast-charging infrastructure to stay ahead of demand.
New non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces will be required to have at least one re-charging point. To support its ambition in this regard, the Climate Action Plan cites the drop in EV battery prices, which have fallen by 79% in the last 7 years and it points to forecasts predicting a further 67% fall by 2030.
The Climate Action Plan emphasises the need for a "modal shift" in efforts to make people less reliant on their cars. To achieve that, a number of projects are designed to make public transport a more realistic option for the public to adopt.
In an effort to reduce emissions and improve air quality, there is a commitment to convert public transport fleets to zero carbon alternatives, with no diesel-only purchases from 1 July 2019, and a roadmap to be set for all public service obligation urban bus fleets to become light EVs by 2035. A Cycling Project Office within the National Transport Authority will be established and it will consider the development of an overall cycling Implementation Plan across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
We await to see how this ambitious EV plan will play out and whether the government's mix of regulatory, taxation and subsidy policies to drive significant ramp-up in passenger EVs and electric van sales can be achieved within the time-frame stated.