The Climate Action Plan 2021 announced yesterday by Government outlines a range of industry specific emissions reduction targets for each sector of the economy.
Transport’s core focus is towards accelerating the electrification of road transport and a shift to transport modes with lower energy consumption.
The Climate Action Plan states that by 2030 there will be 845,000 passenger electric vehicles on Irish roads, with a focus on battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
By the end of this decade, 95,000 zero-emission vans and 3,500 zero-emission HGVs will occupy the roads in Ireland, according to the Climate Action Plan. This will bring the total number of electric vehicles on the road to 945,000.
The plan says that by 2030 Ireland’s bioethanol and biodiesel blend rates will reach 10 per cent (E10) and 20 per cent (B20) respectively, in order to reduce emissions from existing petrol and diesel cars.
In relation to zero-emission goods and passenger mass transportation, the plan says bus and rail services will be replaced by “green” alternatives, with 1,500 fully electric buses and expanded electrified rail services expected for Ireland by 2030.
The Government claims its Climate Action Plan will see a 42 to 50 per cent reduction in transport emissions from Ireland come the end of the decade.
It adds that central to this plan will be Government continued supports and investment in electric vehicle infrastructure.
Brian Cooke, director general of the Society of the Irish Motor industry (SIMI) said the targets for EVs outlined in the Climate Action Plan will prove “a huge challenge” for all stakeholders; consumers, the Government, energy providers, as well as the motor industry.
He said the latter has “already begun the journey towards electrification”, with large scale investment in new EV technologies on a global level and also investments nationally by local retailers in their premises and their employees.
“We have already seen significant growth in sales of new EVs and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) this year, and the upward trend towards electrification of the new car market, will continue as the decade progresses,” Mr Cooke said.
“It should be highlighted that the Irish new and used car markets have underperformed over the last decade. If the current low levels of new car sales continue into the future then we will fall well short of the updated targets.
“However, if we can significantly increase new car sales to more normal replacement levels, the industry has the ability to get closer to the EV targets outlined in this plan, but we cannot do this on our own.”
He added that the motor industry and Government must work together “to create the retail environment for consumers to make the best choices and to maximise the number of EVs on Irish roads”.
Mr Cooke also called for continued Government EV supports and investment in electric vehicle infrastructure “now”.
“The rewards from this investment will be realised in the second half of the Climate Action Plan, not only in terms of new EV sales and lower emissions but also potentially creating a vibrant used EV market, which can bring second hand car buyers into the EV experience,” he said.
“We also need to address the huge numbers of older high emitting cars on Irish roads and create an environment where those motorists can trade up to a newer lower emitting car.
“To achieve the Climate Action Plan’s target of 500,000 daily public transport and active travel journeys, commuters need real choice and affordable cleaner transport options.
“There is an onus now on the Government and the motor industry to work together to facilitate this change and to help deliver a more sustainable private transport environment.”