Budget 2018 measures on electric vehicles ‘underwhelming’

Published by Sorcha McManigan on

October 11th, 2017

New measures laid out in Budget 2018 to encourage the take up of electric vehicles are “underwhelming”, the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association (IEVOA) has said.

Announcing the Budget yesterday, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe outlined plans for a zero per cent rate of benefit-in-kind (BIK) relief for employers who provide electric company cars to workers.

However, IEVOA Secretary Dave McCabe said that the measure was “underwhelming for electric vehicles” and will only lead to confusion and “severely limit take up”.

Speaking to The Green News, Mr McCabe also expressed disappointment that “simple incentives” such as a reduction in motorway tolls or a reduction in motor tax were not offered, even though it would be “very inexpensive to fund”.

The Budget will also make €10m available through grants and other subsidies, including making free home-charging point available to 1,500 homes. Currently, owners are eligible for relief from Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) up to a maximum amount of €5,000 and a SEAI grant of up to €5,000.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD was unimpressed with the measure, stating that the Government has “no big plan” for building electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Friends of the Earth Director Oisin Coghlan stressed that the Government’s plans are like “sprinkling cherries on the icing when you haven’t even started to bake the cake yet”, as proper infrastructure is not in place yet.

He added: “Reducing benefit-in-kind tax on electric vehicles at a time when company cars are much rarer than they used to be is pretty meaningless”.

Exhaust Gases Car Exhaust Fumes Grey Exhaust Auto Photo: Max Pixel

Diesel on Top

The Environmental Pillar cautiously welcomed the inclusion of incentives for electric vehicles in budget 2018, however, warned that the decision is “essentially meaningless in the short term” unless the government curbs the use of diesel vehicles now.

“We need to catch up with the rest of Europe who are moving away from the combustion engine and taking progressive steps toward phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars,” a Pillar statement reads.

Diesel is charged at 11c less per litre than petrol and is the highest purchased cars in 2017 in Ireland according to The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

The OECD has recommended equalising the rate, while the European Commission has called Ireland’s policy of taxing diesel less than petrol “environmentally unjustified”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classed diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans.

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Sorcha McManigan

Sorcha has a Degree Honours in Journalism with French from DIT and is passionate about social issues and radio production