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Home » Transport and Mobility » Why electric cars are the way forward to changing behaviours on greener options

Shane Prendergast

Programme Manager, EV Charging Infrastructure & Smart Networks

Emer Barry

Programme Manager, Electric Vehicles & Demand Generation

Electric vehicles are providing the gateway for greater changes in how people will act when it comes to options for transport, which will help to meet targets for reducing emissions.

While electric vehicles are leading the charge to decarbonise transport in Ireland, it’s changing the mindset and behaviours of its people who will make the difference and help reach the target of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.

Analysing the impact of daily transport

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is encouraging people to make the switch to electric cars by not just expressing their environmental virtues but also rethinking how they get from A to B.

Shane Prendergast, Programme Manager, says: “It’s not all about how people fuel their cars but getting them to think differently about how they travel. If we can combine electrification with the ‘Avoid, Shift and Improve’ behavioural ethos, then you are getting a full picture of how you can decarbonise transport.”

How to shift transport mindsets

  • Avoid – Consider if a journey is really necessary or reducing and/or combining journeys to do more than one thing.
  • Shift – Use a different mode of transport such as public transport, cycling or walking.
  • Improve –  If you need to make a journey in your car, use an electric car.

Electric vehicles (EVs) arrived in Ireland circa 2010/11. Currently, there are 107,000 fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road. Emer Barry, Programme Manager, says: “The target for 2025 is 175,000 EVs on the road; as it stands, we will reach that target. By 2030, the goal is just shy of 1 million, but we have already seen a massive 44% year-on-year increase in the sales of electric vehicles.”

The National EV Charging Strategy from Ireland’s Department of Transport is investing in ensuring there are charging points every 60 kilometres.

Promoting electric vehicle use

Reluctance to switch to electric-powered cars has been fuelled by fears of not making the distance on long journeys, but the National EV Charging Strategy from Ireland’s Department of Transport is investing in ensuring there are charging points every 60 kilometres.

The SEAI offers generous home charger grants of around 600 euros for purchasing and installing a charge point at home. In July last year, it widened the scope to include those who live without off-street parking, such as apartment block residents, with the multi-user dwelling charger grant.

Other initiatives include the annual Electric Vehicle Dealership awards, launched three years ago to encourage car dealerships to promote sales of electric cars and be recognised for their efforts. If people in Ireland took advantage of these initiatives and benefits, it could be easier to decarbonise transport.

Head to the SEAI website for its Total Cost of Ownership online tool to calculate and compare the costs of owning a petrol or diesel car with an electric one.

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