Car Carbon reduction is a priority for us here at Western Motors and for all involved in the Motor industry. The transition from fossil fuel cars to a more environmentally friendly option is one we are all committed to. At Western Motors, we are already playing our active part in the journey towards greener motoring. As members of both SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) and ICCRA (The Irish Car Carbon Reduction Alliance), we are dedicated to ending the consumer confusion around car engine choices and the Electric Vehicle targets for Ireland, so that the more realistic EU targets can be achieved. The switch to zero emissions must be done in a practical and affordable way.
The Irish Government climate policy sets out radically different targets to the EU targets. On the face of this, it may seem to be something we should be proud of, but on closer examination, we find that a proposed ban on fossil fuel cars by 2030, is not an achievable target. The plan is not aligned to the agreed European approach. Banning the registration of new fossil-fuelled cars from 2030 onwards and phasing out diesel and petrol cars from cities from the same year is unrealistic and therefore, counterproductive. Mixed messaging around the ban means consumers are confused. They risk making choices that will, in fact, keep carbon emissions high. The 2030 ban will force car owners to hold on to their old cars. This will reduce sales of cleaner new cars, whether diesel, petrol, hybrid or electric.
At Western Motors, it is our view that a much more attainable date for achieving their vision of a ban on fossil fuelled cars and a significant move to cleaner greener cars, is the EU/Paris Agreement date of 2040, a date which was agreed internationally prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ireland currently has just 1,100 public charge points for electric vehicles. This goes in some way to explain why there were only 9,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads at the start of this year. Electric cars need to be charged and the simple fact that there are not enough charge points to allow for any kind of long journey is currently a major barrier towards the sale and popularity of fully electric and hybrid cars. Public charging points are sorely lacking. For many, electric cars are not a viable option now or in the near future. Many rural motorists, or those driving long distances, need this change to public charge points or the range of electric vehicles if they are to consider a switch. Grants, which are an incentive for buyers are also been phased out and this surely counters the Governments stated aim of promoting EV’S. Last year just 3% of new cars sold in Ireland were electric. Just 3,444 vehicles. The governments’ Climate Action Plan would need to see that figure jump to 137,800 per year. Even if that was a realistic sales figure (and Western Motors would love if it was!), there are just not enough electric vehicles on the market to reach the one million target. Prior to the cessation of production of cars, during the lockdown of Covid-19, manufacturers were already warning that it was impossible to ramp up production to that level. Until there are enough charging points and a good supply of comparatively priced zero emission vehicles with longer ranges, the option for motorists as they move towards zero emissions must include a mix of petrol, diesel and electric cars.
... and some serious questions about data centres.
Changing our motoring ways will involve massive planning and foresight as we are looking to eventually replace the 2,500,000 petrol and diesel vehicles currently on our roads. If we are to replace them with electric cars, we will need a massive increase in electric power supply.
Has the Government put the extra power stations into the planning process?
No, not yet. But it will need to be done, and/or we will need a huge increase in power imported from abroad.
If power is imported from abroad, will it be renewable and/or atomic sourced?
This question needs to be answered.
Then there is the thorny question of the multiple data centres currently being planned for our shores. While these centres provide a number of jobs they also require a huge amount of energy and this future requirement will compete directly with the requirements from our increasing number of electric cars.
Our politicians and civil servants will need to answer all such questions if we are to take up the zero emissions challenge.
Western Motors play an active role in E-Way 2040 and it is our belief that a more cooperative approach between the Government, the Car Industry and the policy makers is necessary in order to set realistic goals that will successfully achieve the EU’s carbon emission targets for 2040. However, the Irish government has reiterated the 2030 plans in the new programme for government, without the infrastructure needed and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, unrealistic targets mean a trajectory to failure. As responsible motor dealers in a changing world, we can but point to the roadmap which ICCRA have developed, the E-way2040 as a way forward. It’s compliance with the EU commitments to the Paris agreement ensures our credibility and with the background knowledge of most of Ireland’s motor dealers, it is a well-informed, intelligent document. We trust that as main stakeholders, along with our customers who strive to be greener, and all who want a cleaner environment, we will find the way forward to a greener environment.
For more information on this campaign please look up our E-WAY 2040 website www.e-way2040.ie.