The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD officially launched a Government funded electric vehicle public awareness campaign on the opening day of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Energy Show at the RDS.
The campaign is part of a wider public engagement programme, which SEAI will lead. The first phase of the campaign will allow drivers to compare almost 40 different electric vehicles available today, arrange for a test drive at their local dealer and find out more about driving electric, all at a single website www.DrivingElectric.ie. The accompanying advertising campaign will highlight how electric vehicles are compatible with virtually everyone’s daily lives.
Later this year, more electric vehicle roadshows will be rolled out nationwide, encouraging people to test-drive an electric car. The launch was warmly welcomed at the SEAI Energy Show in the RDS where over 5,000 people will gather today and tomorrow to exchange ideas and listen to innovative developments that are set to transform how Ireland makes and consumes energy in the years ahead.
Minister Naughten said: “I secured a record level of funding this year to introduce a series of measures in an effort to boost electric car ownership, including purchase grants, 0% Benefit-in- Kind and home charger installation grants. It is vital that drivers have an opportunity to test drive electric vehicles and this is why I tasked the SEAI with developing a public awareness campaign. Today marks the launch of this campaign and I’m encouraging people to log on to www.DrivingElectric.ie to look up all the EV dealers across the country taking part and book a test drive. At the end of last year, there were 3,800 electric vehicles on the road. Registrations are currently up by 40% on last year, so this is encouraging but I would like to see a greater uptake and not just by private car owners but in the public sector as well. I am encouraging the Office of Government Procurement to actively engage and advise the public sector on the use of electric vehicles across all areas including the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, An Post, educational institutions and the HSE.”
Putting the campaign in context, SEAI Chair Julie O’Neill said: “At present, electric vehicles make up less than 1% of the vehicle fleet in Ireland. We understand people’s concerns about driving electric, so the aim of this campaign is to dispel any of the myths around EVs, such as range, cost and charging, and to demonstrate that electric vehicles are for everyone. In 15-20 years’ time, the face of driving electric in Ireland will have changed completely from what we know now and DrivingElectric.ie is a critical building block in that transition. We are delighted to be working closely with SIMI to make sure the campaign reaches the widest audience possible. Today I urge everyone to learn just a little bit more about electric vehicles – and take a test drive.”
Alan Nolan, Director General, SIMI said: “SIMI is a committed stakeholder in the EV project that promises to deliver a zero-emissions future for transport in Ireland. We believe that today’s launch is another important step in relation to increasing the profile of electric cars with consumers and providing them with key information that was not previously available from a central source but which is crucial in shaping their buying decisions.”