Tuesday 25 February 2020

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Cork Independent


Nissan: ‘vested interests’ are holding back EV sales

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020 3:56pm

Nissan has claimed that vested interests within the car industry are undermining the Government’s policy to put one million electric vehicles (EVs) onto Irish roads by 2030.

“This target is wholly achievable and the Government should not listen to commentators with vested interests and who are out of step with the EV revolution and consumer shift towards electric driving,” said James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland.

Nissan has urged the Government to expedite its investment in the public charging network, to maintain the zero rate BIK and grants for EVs and to challenge why some manufacturers are suggesting that its target is unattainable.

Nissan stated that claims by other car manufacturers that the stock is not available to meet the Government’s EV target only serves to underline their own failure to invest in the future of EV driving and the development and production of new electric vehicles.

“The Government Climate Action Plan intends to reduce transport C02 emission levels by approximately five million tonnes by 2030 to ensure that Ireland meets its decarbonisation commitments under the Paris Agreement. A key part of that objective is putting 840,000 EVs and 100,000 electric vans onto Irish roads by 2030. The Irish motor industry needs to accept that reality and to get behind the strategy rather than rejecting it because they have not got their own house in order,” Mr McCarthy stated.

“The inconvenient truth is that, unlike Nissan, the majority of car manufacturers do not have the engines to sell to buyers switching to electric driving. We should not be surprised that these same manufactures are now saying that the Government’s target is unattainable and unrealistic. We only have to look to Norway to see what can be achieved when the right infrastructure and supports are put into place. The supply of cars was not a barrier to Norway exceeding their targets,” he added.

“This kind of belly-aching is the worst form of protectionism. Time has caught up with these manufacturers and they need to move on from their default position. The success of the Nissan Leaf as Ireland and the world’s best-selling EV is a case study in what can be achieved when car manufacturers embrace the future of zero emissions EV driving and take action to protect our environment,” he continued.

Nissan also warned that car manufacturers who are not investing in developing EV engines are exposed to a new wave of disruption from manufacturers in China who look upon EVs as a Trojan horse for entering the EU market.

“Nissan stands full square behind the Government target. The fact that there are 225,000 first registrations in Ireland each year provides compelling evidence to prove that the Government target is achievable,” Mr McCarthy stated.

“Those 225,000 first registrations typically break down as 125,000 new car sales and 100,000 used car imports per year. Approximately 900,000 cars were first registered in Ireland over the last four years. These facts alone debunk the myth that the Government target is impossible to achieve,” he added.

Nissan stated that the Government needs to meet car manufacturers halfway by stepping up its investment in the public charging infrastructure and by maintaining the grants available to EV buyers, adding that lessons also needed to be learned from past failures to meet EV target and targets to reduce carbon emissions.

“It is glaringly obvious that the Government needs to prioritise its investment in the public charging infrastructure if it is to achieve the targets it has set. Countries like Norway have already proven that investment in the charging infrastructure is the most effective way to achieve EV adoption. Unfortunately, there has been little or no progress with Ireland’s public charging infrastructure since it was first rolled-out a decade ago. This is something that needs to be immediately addressed if the Government is to succeed in reaching its target,” said the CEO.

“In the past we have seen successive governments announce very ambitious targets without ever doing anything to achieve them. We cannot wait another year or ten years. The Government and the naysayers in the car industry need to consider the facts, to stop talking about whether EV targets are possible and to get on with the task of working together to achieve them,” he concluded.

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