Ireland could be left behind in the electric vehicle race

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Ireland could be left behind in the electric vehicle race

Ireland could be left behind while the world embraces the demise of petrol and diesel engines in favour of sustainable energies.

The UK's decision to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 only goes to highlight the complacency of the Irish Government on the issue of banning petrol and diesel vehicles.

Basically speaking, the government is sitting on the fence while other countries are moving forward in their plans to phase out petrol and diesel fuels for a more sustainable energy source like electricity.

In recent times, diesel in particular has come in for some fierce attacks because of the pollutants that are created by the fuel.

For just health concerns alone, leaving aside, pragmatism dirty fuel will have to be banned at some time or another, especially when there are other cleaner and more sustainable alternatives.

Sooner or later the internal combustion engine and the dirty fuel types will come to an end, so Ireland needs to be prepared and have a contingency plan ready.

The UK’s decision to ban diesel and petrol cars by 2014 is undoubtedly going to have a huge effect on a major scale here in Ireland. If England sneezes, we get a cold.

Here in Ireland we drive on the same side of the road as our neighbours in the UK and we get right-hand drive diesel and petrol cars but change the dynamics of one of the biggest auto markets in Europe, such as the UK  and suddenly the business of making small specific production runs for Ireland (or Cyprus or Malta) makes far less sense.

Of course, there are other right-hand drive markets around the world (South Africa, Japan, Australia, India, Malaysia) but would it be worth all the hassle? And would we want a car made for vastly different tastes than ours in décor, drive, finish?

The most likely scenario is that we will buy whatever right-hand-drive electric cars are available in the UK market and make the change to electric at the same time as Britain.

It is quite possible in the near future that diesels and petrols could be banned in the North but still be available in the Republic. What would that mean for post-Brexit cross-Border trade, traffic, and the motor industry down here?

The UK's decision to ban petrol and diesel vehicles 2040 will further accelerate and facilitate the change towards electric and away from fossil fuels. All the world's major automakers are already amending their production plans and timescales to accommodate the transition to EV. Volvo and BMW have made high-profile announcements on their intentions to 'electrify' their ranges.

The British government has set out its stall but the Irish government hasn’t. Putting the inevitable off when everyone else is embracing EV technologies is just not a smart move by this country.

The quicker our Government outlines its plans the better for all concerned too. The Budget would seem a likely launch pad for any announcement to be made by the government but at this stage it is not likely.

The least Irish motorists deserve is a proper steer on what really lies ahead for petrol and especially diesel vehicles.

(As always, if you or a family member are considering buying a used car, don’t buy until you run a car check report with where you will find out the true history of the vehicle.)


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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