A new tolling incentive regime for electric vehicles (EVs) is being introduced this summer in a bid by the Government to increase the number of electric cars on the road. New and second hand EV drivers will be entitled to discounts on toll roads       throughout the country. There will be a 50% toll discount for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and a 25% toll discount for plug- in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). Traditional hybrid vehicles will not be covered by the scheme. On the M50, a higher incentive rate of 75% discount for BEVs and 50% discount for PHEVs will apply during off-peak hours (i.e. outside 7 to 10am and 4 to 7pm). The toll discount will only be applicable to Dublin Port Tunnel during off-peak times rather than during rush hour. A maximum  cap  per annum will apply; up to a value of €500 for private vehicles and up to a value of €1000 for commercial vehicles.

Why introduce such an incentive?

Although the number of EVs sold in Ireland rose to 622 in 2017, from 392 in 2016 that made up only 0.47 per cent of the overall market. The Government’s climate-change- mitigation plan aims to increase the number of EVs on

Irish roads to 500,000 by 2030. There are only 900 charging points for electric cars in Ireland and these will also have to increase if the number of EVs on the roads is to rise.

Why switch?

Motorists who switch to EVs can save not only on toll charges but also up to €10,000 with the help of Government purchase incentives (€5,000 on VRT relief and an additional SEAI grant of €5,000). Furthermore, motor tax for EVs is set at the lowest band of €120 a year and there is a €600 grant available to buy a home charger. The network of public chargers is presently free to use. Additional incentives include a zero percentage rate of benefit in kind charged on electric-powered vehicles along with tax incentives under the Accelerated Capital Allowance scheme.

The scheme will be administered by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and it is awaiting confirmation  from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport as to how the scheme will be rolled out.