Ireland advances e-scooters + new grant scheme for cabbies


The government of Ireland has launched new schemes for e-mobility. One prepares for the use of e-scooters and e-bikes to become legal. The other concerns incentives for electric vehicles in the SPSV sector, which covers taxis, hackneys, and limousines.

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SPSV stands for Small Public Service Vehicles. Drivers of taxis and other SPSV may soon claim up to 20,000 euros when they scrap older, high mileage vehicles for new full-electric models. That is double the highest grant claimable in previous years. At least this was the initial announcement of the Electric SPSV Grant Scheme which appeared to have increased from €1m in 2020 to €15m in 2021. Only the report has since been taken offline.

What we know for sure is that the 2020 scheme distinguished grants by the age of the vehicle. Operators opting for brand new EVs would receive 10,000 euros. The scheme then reduced in 1,000 euro steps down to 6,000 euros for Battery Electric Vehicle age less than four years. The highest funding was for BEV, which allowed wheelchair access at 12,500 euros (new). The 2021 scheme information appeared to designate even 25k for these types of large cabs or electric transporters.

Plug-in hybrid grants had a similar segmentation, starting at 5,000 euros (new) and running down to 1,000 euros (PHEV four years of age).

Operators wishing to make the switch may also combine the scheme with the Domestic Charger grant through Ireland’s Sustainable Energy Authority (SEAI). The Irish National Transport Authority NTA usually runs the Electric SPSV Grant Scheme. We will check back to confirm the information.

Irish e-scooter and e-bike legislation

Now to smaller personal transport. Ireland´s Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan has approved to draft legislation that will allow for the regulation of e-scooters and e-bikes in the forthcoming Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. It could lift the light electric vehicles out of the grey area they have found themselves in Ireland. They were not allowed on the roads, but private users took to them either way.

Farrell, an MP, introduced the bill now under revision. If enacted, it would allow for private and shared scooters to use roads and cycleways, capped at a speed of 25 kph and for people over the age of 16. It would bring Ireland up to speed with the rest of Europe.

The UK had initiated a similar move in 2020 when they extended trials to most of the country in preparation for binding legislation. Different from the Irish proposal, in the UK riders need a provisional driver’s license.

In Ireland, there will be rules on the proper use of these vehicles newly to be classified as ‘Powered Personal Transporters’ (PPTs) in a public place. The government also wants to address standards to be met by PPTs in the interests of safety.

For e-bikes, Ireland will now follow EU standards as a reference point, which treats pedelecs mainly as pedal cycles and almost the same as bicycles – the EU calls these EPACs. The more powerful e-bikes, the distinction also being the motor and whether they can drive without pedalling, will be treated as light mopeds.

The decision to look at PPT will now allow for the introduction of appropriate regulations for these types of light electric vehicles.

Update 06 February 2021: The Irish Government’s Electric SPSV (eSPSV) Scheme extension was online briefly on Monday and then taken offline again. With a following official press release, the points were mainly reaffirmed: “drivers can apply for grants of up to €10,000 towards the purchase of a new full battery eSPSV with a further €2,500 available to convert it to a wheelchair-accessible model”.

However, limitations were also added to the “enhanced support”: “To be eligible for the enhanced support level the applicant must be an existing SPSV driver; their vehicle must be registered as an SPSV for the previous three years; and the vehicle must be within three years of its maximum permissible age, or have a mileage of 300,000km or greater.”

Further explanation on the rewards for scrapping older vehicles was also added, specifying what prices can be expected at which ages. A difference of 2,000€ per year of age for the BEV in question ranging from €20,000 to €12,000 for a four-year-old vehicle. If your old vehicle is not eligible for the funding, the purchase of a BEV will be subsidized with half of what would be received with an eligible trade-in. (e-scooter, e-bikes), (update)


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