• Caoilin Rafferty

There will be a greater increase in the number of Irish taxis on the road driving electric

In January of this year, the Taxi Grant Scheme was introduced in order to encourage Electric vehicles as an alternative to driving diesel or petrol cars.

The scheme administered by the National Transport Authority enabled taxi drivers to seek up to €7000 off the purchase price of an electric Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) and €3,500 off the purchase of a Plug-In Hybrid Electric SPSV. Applicants were also entitled to VRT relief and a SEAI grant scheme in addition.

According to the National Transport Authority, there have been 80 provisional grants offered since the scheme was launched this year. Peter Hanley, a taxi driver from Dublin purchased an EV in 2015. Since that time, he has clocked over 150,000 km. Before that, he was driving a Volkswagen Passat and was spending over €90 a week on diesel.

“I used to work the night shift but I moved to the day now because of health. I am not chasing the dollar all the time now. The savings with the electric car helped with the change and the charging during the day forces me to have a break which I am happy about”.

 

Peter currently drives a Nisan Leaf and says, “The savings are great but it’s not even the money, it’s the comfort and relaxation that comes with it”.

Since the change, the only repairs required on his car was to replace the ball joints for the wheels. However, while Peter states he would never go back to driving a manual, he didn’t foresee his change of circumstances. “I am noticing it is more difficult getting onto charge points this year. My domestic situation has changed and I no longer have a home charging point to rely on… There is an inconvenience factor with charging in the city”.

Applications for the new taxi grant were received from 16 counties. The majority came from Dublin (49) followed by Cork (10) Galway (9) and Kerry (8).

Peter says he didn’t buy an electric car to “save the planet” but realises now that it just “makes sense” and with that he became more astute to environmental and health issues.

While passengers were very curious when he first bought the car. Peter has noticed a dip in comments this year as people become more familiar and aware of electric vehicles on the road.