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Public authorities will only have to buy fully electric cars by 2023

Public authorities are to be ordered to stop buying fossil fuel vehicles from next year, bringing a previous target of 2025 forward.

That means they only have to buy battery-only vehicles — not plug-in hybrids or hybrids that are partially fueled by gasoline or diesel.

It comes after massive growth in purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) for the public sector in recent weeks – and despite a global chip shortage that is resulting in significantly increased lead times for all vehicles.

Minister of State for Procurement Ossian Smyth has developed a new framework for purchasing electric vehicles for public services. After a slow start, when only 3 percent of newly purchased state vehicles were electric in the first quarter of 2021, a tenfold increase to 32 percent was achieved within six months.

All new vehicles in the September 2021 figures were electric vehicles.

Mr Smyth insisted the government had met the climate plan’s target of phasing out internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and vans from its fleets from 2023.

“The public sector is leading by example,” said Mr Smyth, who added that earlier last year he set out a challenge for him to better meet the targets after initially falling short.

The government program commits to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, with the national fleet set to be replaced by electric vehicles.

There is a separate pledge to ensure public authorities buy only low- or zero-emission cars and vans by 2025.

But Mr Smyth prefers it to early 2023 as part of the climate action plan.

A total of 68 electric vehicles have recently been purchased, with an additional 52 fully electric vehicles on order, including 10 for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Inland fisheries will receive 20, and An Garda Síochána and other agencies will also receive a number of electric vehicles.

A report to the minister said there had been “a very good start” in electric vehicle purchases, while public service uptake “has exceeded our expectations”. It notes “healthy demand” for electric vehicles, but also notes a 28 percent price differential versus traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. However, the running costs are significantly lower.

One downside, however, is that “there is currently no alternative for a pickup vehicle, which accounts for 15 percent of demand by volume from public sector customers.”

However, it notes that “successive new models are being launched by suppliers with comparable range and size to their internal combustion engine counterparts”.


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