Ah Ireland. The Emerald Isle is home to one of my favorite stouts, Guinness, and it has a very long and interesting history — both bloody and scientific. They also make great whiskey. But one thing I’ve never associated with Ireland was cars. That may soon change, however, as the Irish government has announced some big moves regarding electric cars.
In order to ease the transition to more expensive electric cars, the Irish government is offering a grant of 5,000 euros (about $6,800) to anybody who buys an electric car, and an infrastructure of 3,500 charging points nationwide by December of 2011.
Ireland isn’t jumping into this plan unprepared though. They have partnered with Renault-Nissan, who hopes to sell 2,000 LEAF and Kangoo Z.E. electric vehicles there by 2011. Seems like a low number, but consider Ireland has a population of just 6.2 million people. That is about as many people as live in the whole state of Arizona. The LEAF is expected to retail there for about 30,200 euros, or about $41,000. Additionally, Renault will provide 100 pre-production Fluence Z.E. (pictured above) electric cars for a pilot program, which I think is much better looking than the LEAF or Kangoo.
The tax credit would knock it down to about $34,000 US, which is pretty cheap considering the many extra taxes European countries levy on cars, even electric ones. Ireland has a Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) of 21%! In addition to the grant, electric car buyers will also be exempt from the Vehicle Registration Tax, which is a precentage of the new car’s price.
To sweeten the pot even more, the government-backed Electricity Supply Board will be installing 3,500 electric car charging points across the country. That may not sound like a lot either, but the Emerald Isle is about half the size of Illinois. Those 3,500 charging points will actually be very well spread out and will also include 30 “fast charge” points. Sounds like a great one-two punch to bring electric cars into the limelight in Ireland.