The rollout of electric car charging points must be urgently prioritised to further encourage people to go green on the roads, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Richard Bruton has called for action after it emerged the pandemic has hampered the projected installation of charging points across the country.
The party chairperson said: “It is disappointing that progress in rolling out EV chargers has been so slow in 2020.
“Only 10% of the projected delivery of 400 chargers by the ESB have been delivered in Year 1, while not a single charger was installed in the first year of the Local Authority programme.
“Indeed, only 12 Local Authorities have even taken an initial step towards getting involved. While no doubt Covid created difficulties, we need to see urgent prioritisation now.
“Those programmes would see the delivery of 1,406 chargers. That would bring the network to two and a half times the present number of chargers but would increase the capacity more than fourfold because of the greater capacity of many of the new chargers.
“The installed capacity would then be capable of delivering 350,000 kilometres of driving every hour around the clock.”
Deputy Bruton continued: “This year over 10,000 additional Plug-In Electric cars are taking to our roads, bringing the total close to 25,000. Each one saves one third the emissions of a petrol or diesel equivalent.
“There has been a massive change in attitudes. The latest data shows that half of all drivers would now consider a switch to EV.
“Indeed, already the purchase of electric or of hybrid cars has reached 20% of new sales, so switching to fully electric would not be a big step.
“The two greatest things that hold people back are the upfront cost and range anxiety. By accelerating the installation of this capacity now we can capitalise on the positive change in attitude.”
Deputy Bruton concluded: “It is time the commitments to charging capacity are delivered without further delay.
“The opportunity of the traditional surge in New Year sales should not be missed. We are close to the tipping point when the saving on annual driving costs outweighs the higher purchase price. This represents low hanging fruit in our battle to tackle the climate crisis.”