Lampposts could be used to provide more charging points for electric vehicles (EVs), according to the Department of Transport.
t is also looking at establishing community schemes for electric cars to help increase the number of such vehicles on our roads and reduce emissions from fossil fuels within the transport sector.
Speaking at a joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action, Dr Aoife O’Grady of the Department of Transport said the Department is actively looking at lamppost charge points, with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Fingal county councils currently trialling such meters.
Users, she said, are not currently being charged for the service and she warned that there are technical issues with charging users via a meter on lamppost charge points. “If we do begin to charge users we have to work out how to get around the meter issue,” she said.
“If you have to put the meter in the lampost you have an additional piece of street infrastructure which takes away from the rationale of using a lamppost in the first place.”
And while the Department is talking to Finance about more incentives in the upcoming Budget, including incentivising lower emissions vehicles and disincentivising the highest emitting vehicles.
Further, she said the Department is looking at community EV schemes for urban areas which could include supports for electric car clubs with dedicated on-street electric charge points.
The Department is proposing two schemes for local authorities, including a neighbourhood residential charging scheme with publicly accessible charge points designed for areas where people don’t have access to a driveway, and a destination charge point scheme, to give funding for more public buildings to install charge points.
However, commitee chairman Brian Leddin, the Green Party spokesperson for Transport, Climate Action and Environment, questioned whether more encouragement in urban areas should not be focused on active transport, such as cycling and walking and e-bikes.
“A lot of the journeys that we envisage would be made by EVs, a lot of them could be made by more sustainable modes. We have to build a network in our villages and towns and our cities so that people can feel safe getting onto a bike or e-bike,” he said.
Dr O’Grady said while capital supports are going towards people purchasing new vehicles, that’s where Ireland is in the EV cycle, but the Department is looking at a ‘just transition’ for EVs and a functioning second-hand market for EVs.
She also said that far more money is going into active travel than electrification transport supports.
EVs will only equate to a cut of 40pc of the sector’s total emissions, she said.
The majority of the emissions reduction will not come electrification of the fleet, she said, but will come from active and sustainable travel and from the increased use of renewable and sustainable biofuels in the petrol and diesel mix.