Following the launch of the Government’s ‘Climate Action Plan’ which will bring 950,000 EVs into circulation and ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has reacted with caution to the aspirational plan.
Commenting on the Government’s Climate Action plan, SIMI Director General Brian Cooke said: “The Motor Industry continues to be supportive of the drive towards zero emissions transport. The Climate Action Plan is hugely ambitious and it is important that we get greater clarity on the detail of any proposals, both short term and long term. The Industry is a key stakeholder, as the provider of vehicles to this project, and in particular welcomes the State’s commitment to supporting the implementation of an extensive nationwide charging infrastructure that will support the roll-out of these vehicles. The Plan underlines the big growth in zero-emitting vehicles will happen from 2024 onward, and in that context, it is important that the State and the Industry start an engagement process now to consider policies that will support change both pre and post 2024.
“Lessons have to be learnt from the past, when dramatic changes to the taxation systems contributed to extensive job losses in the Industry, and any short-term changes must support the new car market and not undermine used car values. This means in the short term any changes should be gradual, as implementing measures too quickly can undermine used car values which will only make it more difficult for motorist to change to a new lower emitting car, which would ultimately hinder the drive towards zero-emissions.”
Cooke concluded: “So far this year, 1,949 new electric vehicles have been registered which is a 58.1 per cent increase on total registrations in 2018 (1,233). Clearly the incentives are working well, as we see registrations continuing to grow, and we would call on the Government to extend the current incentives that are in place, including the VRT relief, the grant scheme and the BIK benefit, out beyond the current expiry date of 2021. Change can happen with the right measures, but cannot happen overnight, and sensible policies aimed at encouraging motorist to make the right choices can lead to clean affordable and convenient mobility solutions.”