Monday, June 20, 2016

SEAI...I thought stood for Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland!? And the response from SEAI!

I had to send them a note just in case they hadn't spotted the irony themselves! 

Dear SEAI,
I'm just writing to point out the absurdity of your electric vehicle grant scheme. 
Eligibility criteria (as just explained to me by your help line):
1.    Grant available only for new cars, not available for conversions of existing cars.
2.    Tax incentive for Corporations only; not available to Sole Traders or Partners. Only corporations with high energy use.
You have managed to identify the two eligible groups that actually have money and do not need a grant, to offer the scheme to. Furthermore, I only know of one Irish corporation off the top of my head while a great number of one-or-two-sizes-smaller Irish businesses that will not be supported. In addition, I'd hazard a guess that Corporations and people buying brand new cars are also a demography that don't have the well-being of the environment in their top priorities, otherwise they'd have reined their industrial impact in, to a modest level of damage, already and not need to offset it against a token electric vehicle purchase.

In terms of your goal to have at least 230,000 electric cars on the road in Ireland by 2020, can I just speculate that you haven't a hope in hell or any real intention. If I have misread the situation, please get back to me as I planned to convert my little old MX5 to electric…to bring to the Electric Picnic Festival Eco Village in September…to show people how its done. Now, that might well get your numbers up of takers for a move towards zero emissions vehicles! I was hoping for a little sponsorship but now I'm hoping only to expose what a quadruple standard you seem to be working to. Same with the solar panels and insulation grants I remember now, I explored those a few years ago as well. Let's hope your organization is not representative of Ireland's actual sustainability.

And this is the response I got. I think I get it, so I appreciated it.

Dear Frances
In response to your comments SEAI would like to offer you the following feedback.
The EV targets for 2020 has been revised downward to 50,000 vehicles so SEAI will be updating its webpages accordingly.  The EV Grant scheme began in 2011 with only 2 vehicles available and today we have 17 vehicles.  This has led to a growing second hand market for EVs with some vehicles available now for 10,000euro or less.  Therefore the subsidy available to the new car ensures that the second hand car is also reduced.
When offering incentives to help to establish a new market for any technology, potential new consumers will be very sensitive to product failure and needs a certain level of reassurance. It is important therefore that only well tested equipment with warranties are promoted to the market.  Otherwise even a handful of bad consumer experiences could damage the market.  In order to convince the main bulk of vehicle consumers that EVs are a credible replacement for their car, the EV Grant is offered to only high volume series production cars which have achieved the EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval.  Therefore mass market subsidies already assume that a product is fully developed and fully reliable.
The Accelerated Capital Allowance tax incentive is very similar to the normal capital allowance offered to businesses.  If a business qualifies for capital allowances then it can also avail of ACA.  ACA just allows the taxable profits to be "written down" in 1 year rather than spread over 8 years. It is therefore only of use to companies with large taxable profits.
The Government will be revising incentives for electric vehicles this year and considering what other supports may be necessary to promote the uptake of the electric vehicles in Ireland.
Hopefully this has given some insight into the reason why the grant scheme is designed the way it is and the purpose of ACA.
Kind regards,
Best regards, Frances 

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