Ride-hailing app Free Now has announced that it will invest €6 million in helping drivers to buy home chargers to assist in switching to electric vehicles.
The app is also urging the Government to encourage and support Irish drivers financially to buy greener vehicles, which is crucial if Ireland is to meet its emissions targets.
Free Now has met with stakeholders from across the taxi, transport, charging and business sectors to see how they can work together to reduce emissions and improve air quality across Ireland.
Data from the ride-hailing app shows that of all 11 countries where FREE NOW operates, Ireland has the lowest share of new cars (only 16% of cars registered after 2015 vs. 63% in average across other markets).
A recent survey of drivers found that Irish drivers need more assurance from all parties when it comes to switching, with 68% saying they were unsure about whether they would consider making the switch. This is compared to 37% in the UK 22% in France where the regulation and Government support for drivers is more advanced.
The company are urging the Government to make changes to regulation to help expedite the switch to cleaner vehicles, including a review of supports and grants, to provide charging infrastructure, and a greater number of electric vehicles to be approved as taxis.
Niall Carson, General Manager for FREE NOW Ireland said: “We take our responsibility as Ireland’s leading ride-hailing app very seriously and want to make a significant impact on improving air quality.
“But we also understand that drivers cannot switch to EVs overnight and they need support from all stakeholders in order to do so. Drivers have highlighted their very real concerns when it comes to price and charging infrastructure.
“That is why we will help to alleviate some of the barriers to switching by significantly investing in home chargers for every driver in Ireland.
“I have written to the Minister for Transport to outline some of the key barriers and ask for action here, this will not happen overnight but all stakeholders must work together to improve Ireland’s position on this issue on the European stage.
“Taxi drivers are well placed to lead the way to wider switching among private car users and we can all learn a lot from their experience, but we cannot expect drivers to carry all of the costs.”