The Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) Electric Vehicle Purchase Scheme has been updated to support the most efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles on the market. Support in the form of government funding is being refocused to prioritise battery electric cars. Grants for these EVs will continue at a rate of €5000. From the 1st of July 2021, the value of the purchase grant for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) will change from €5,000 to €2,500.
The SEAI grant scheme aims to encourage behavioural change and support the Government’s commitment to achieving a 51% reduction in transport emissions by 2030. The grant schemes are kept under continuous review to ensure that they are as effective as possible in driving the decarbonisation effort.
The update to the scheme is in line with the wider policy approach being taken by other EU Member States due to the increasing recognition that PHEV emissions in the ‘real world’ are often higher than ‘official’ emission levels.
In addition, the grant for both EVs and PHEVs will only apply to cars under €60,000. This is to ensure that funding is targeted most effectively at those who might not otherwise buy an electric vehicle and where the availability of Government support is most likely impact upon a decision to purchase an EV.
The Government continues to provide a wide range of supports to incentivise the purchase of EVs and EV charging infrastructure. The Government has allocated €36.5 million in 2021 towards the promotion of EVs and the decarbonisation effort with €27m allocated to the EV Purchase Grant Scheme.
Sales of new electric vehicles in January and February were almost 2,900 vehicles, up 63% on the same two month period last year despite the COVID restrictions closing showrooms.
Overview of additional EV supports:
- Home Charger Grant Scheme provides support towards the full cost of installation of a home charger up to a maximum of €600;
- Public Charge Point Scheme provides a grant of up to €5000 to local authorities to support the development of on-street public chargers;
- VRT relief of up to €5,000 for the purchase of BEVs and up to €2,500 for PHEVs;
- Benefit-in-Kind tax relief for battery electric vehicles;
- grants of up to €12,500 to support the purchase of electric vehicles in the taxi/hackney/limousine sector
- Under Budget 2021, €15 million secured by the Department of Transport to support taxi and hackney drivers in scrapping their older vehicles and replacing them with electric alternatives.
- Accelerated Capital Allowances for businesses;
- Low rate of annual motor tax; and
- Tolling reductions of 50% for battery electric vehicles and 25% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
About EU Changes in vehicle emission testing procedures
The EU has updated how it measures fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) replaced the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) on 1 January 2021. Instead of using theoretical driving profiles as the NEDC did, the WLTP uses real-driving data to measure fuel consumption and emissions. This provides a more realistic profile of every day driving. In line with this advancement, the eligibility criteria for the SEAI scheme has been amended to include only vehicles that have a minimum electric driving range of 50km and a maximum emission level of 50gCO2/km as tested under this new regime. This will reduce the number of PHEVs eligible under the SEAI scheme.