Discussion of the Future of Transportation in Ireland

What is the current situation of transport in Ireland and how will it change in the future? Most people still use petrol or diesel cars, which causes pollution that leads to climate change. This also causes health implications. However, this is about to change in the next 10 years, as the government introduced new laws banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. “The Climate Action Plan states that the Republic of Ireland is “way off course” in its attempts to achieve its emissions targets. The Environment Minister Richard Burton said Ireland was currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels”. (Ireland to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 – BBC News, no date)

Transport is one of the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland next to agriculture. To tackle climate change, “EU countries made the decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the non-Emission Trading Scheme sector in each country.” (CO₂ Emissions, no date, p. 2)

“A grant scheme has been established by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in Ireland’s small public service vehicle industry.” (Gov.ie – Transport and Climate Change, no date)

By 2030 the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Ireland will be banned and the future of transport will be opposed to many changes. People who would want to buy new cars will only be able to purchase fully electric cars. EVs can help increase energy security, increase road safety, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions. Many people are wondering if they would have to get rid of their petrol or diesel cars when the ban comes into force, the answer is no, for now. People won’t be forced out of their older petrol and diesel cars and into electric versions. However, it will be harder for them to drive their internal combustion engine (ICE) cars within the major cities without issue. Many cities will impose a strict emission zone, where only EVs are allowed. ICE cars will still be allowed to be on the road, but they will not be able to get NCT and the cost of owning and driving them will be much more expensive in the long run.

“The draft legislation aims to stop the granting of NCTs from 2045 for fossil fuel cars. In effect, from 2030 it will not be possible to register any new car which runs on fossil fuel. This measure will be submitted to government for approval.” (Finn, no date)

Delivering a sustainable transport system is an important factor of the climate change agenda. In Ireland, the demand for car ownership has increased. “The ban on petrol and diesel vehicles is all about addressing climate change and driving down the country’s emissions. Not only that, but air quality targets will be more easily met if combustion-engine cars are taken off sale.”(What does the government’s ban on petrol and diesel cars mean? – Evening Express, no date)

Replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles (EV) can be very beneficial, because they have long been considered as the future of the automobile industry. EVs are cheaper to run. Since EVs are more efficient with their “fuel” every kilometer costs a third of what petrol would cost over the same distance due to thermodynamics. They are also cheaper to maintain, because it has a lot fewer moving parts than a conventional petrol/diesel car. In comparison, EVs require cheaper and less often servicing. They do not have expensive parts such as exhaust systems, starter motors, alternators. Maintenance is less expensive because there are fewer parts that can break, therefore there is less work for mechanics. Although, batteries do wear out, but many manufacturers provide generous warranty for batteries, even if replacement batteries will eventually be needed. EVs are better for the environment. Driving an EV allows you to decrease air pollution as there is no direct emissions from the exhaust. The ban only applies to the new cars. No new car will be sold after 2030.

“Public transport can also be improved, by replacing it with electric vehicles. But, a massive introduction of electric taxis (ETs) and electric buses (EBs) could generate issues in the grid. The challenges are different from those of private EVs, as their required load is much higher and the related time constraints must be considered with much more attention.” (Electric Vehicles for Public Transportation in Power Systems: A Review of Methodologies, 14 August 2019). Because Ireland is always improving and future proofing the smart grid, it will be easier to transition to all electric transport.

“Cities can work with transit agencies to transition their fleets to fully electric buses. They may have higher initial purchase costs, but they also provide significant economic benefits because of reduced maintenance and fuel costs, especially in high-mileage use cases.” (4. Electrify Public Transportation, no date)

“A lot of rules, regulations and pilot programs for shared electric bikes and scooters can be developed. Cities can explore public-private partnerships with shared-electric mobility companies and evaluate the impact of innovative transportation technologies like “dockless” electric bikes and scooters.” (4. Electrify Public Transportation, no date).

In conclusion I can say that EVs will help tackle climate change as well as improving public health by reducing emissions. Overall, people will save money in the long run by driving an electric car. This will also create safer driving environment as EVs are statistically safer than internal combustion engine cars. Due to the ban, manufacturers will be forced to adapt to changes in transport industry by ceasing ICE car production and designing and producing new EVs for the market. Many manufacturers many not have enough time or resources to change their product in order to comply with the legislation. As a result, they may exit the market, but intern many new manufacturers will appear, such as Rivian.