24 November 2022

Nissan calls on Govt to keep 1m EV target by 2030

Nissan is calling on the Government not to abandon its target of having one million electric vehicles (EVs) onto Irish roads by 2030, writes Trish Whelan

Speaking to motoring journalists at a Nissan Journey to Electric Test-Drive event yesterday, James McCarthy, Group CEO of Nissan Ireland, said the target of one million electric vehicles on Irish roads is expected to be cut to 650,000 when the Government publishes its new Climate Action Plan in the coming weeks as the new plan aims to reduce car travel and car dependency and to promote a radical new shift towards public transport, cycling and walking. 

James McCarthy said the country is on track to achieve the target of one million EVs by 2030 and now is not the time to be writing a new Climate Action Plan on EV adoption or to be phasing out the grants that are incentivising thousands of motorists to make the switch to zero emissions driving. 

“EVs are becoming more expensive and that is why the €5,000 EV grant is so important as it incentivises buyers to choose an EV over an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle 95pc of the time.”

Mr McCarthy warned that any move to change the EV grant scheme will trigger a dramatic slump in EV sales. He pointed out that the removal of the grant scheme for plug-in hybrids had seen a drop of 28pc in sales of these cars since the grants were withdrawn last March and he warned that the PHEV market for 2022 is now stagnant. 

Mr McCarthy said Environment, Climate and Transport Minister Ryan’s proposal to reduce car travel and car dependency is ‘a pipe-dream that ignores the reality of family life in Ireland’. “The Minister’s priority should be to deliver a Climate Action Plan that works for the transport sector and that takes account of the reality of family life in Ireland where a car is a necessity for families living in suburban and rural settings.” He pointed out that there will also be more cars on Irish roads as our population grows and the age profile of drivers widens, and said our priority must be to ensure that these cars are cleaner, electrified vehicles. 

Nissan has questioned why Minister Ryan is proposing another u-turn on Ireland’s EV target at a time when countries all over the world are setting higher targets having identified EV adoption as the key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net-zero emissions. 

The Group CEO of Nissan Ireland pointed out that Minister Ryan ‘has a less than impressive record on environmental protection in the transport sector as he promoted tax breaks for diesel cars in the past and is now trying to convince us that the best way for the Government to achieve its target of a 51pc reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is to reduce our EV target by more than one third’. 

“Improving public transport infrastructure is not mutually exclusive to achieving a target of having one million EVs on Irish roads. Minister Ryan should be looking at delivering the two in tandem. He needs to stay the course on EVs, to increase EV grants, to extend the €60,000 ceiling that applies to them and to invest in developing Ireland’s re-charging infrastructure as the most effective way to reduce transmission emissions,” Mr McCarthy said. 

“Nissan has backed the Government EV target since 2019 when we predicted that 15pc of car sales would be EVs by 2022. We were bang on the money as EV sales are currently 86pc up on last year and 15,000 motorists have made the switch to electric driving in 2022. This trajectory proves that we can achieve the target of one million EVs by 2030 and there is no rational reason to abandon it,” the Nissan Ireland boss concluded.


SEAT Ibiza and Arona maintain 5 star Euro NCAP ratings

SEAT’s new Ibiza and Arona have maintained their top five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, writes Trish Whelan

SEAT took a new approach to the Ibiza and Arona’s passive and active technologies. 

Ibiza scored high in each area tested with scores of 83pc for Adult Occupant Protection, a matching score for Child Occupant Protection, 65pc for Vulnerable Road User and 70pc for Safety Assist while Arona (pictured above) achieved almost identical ratings in each category. 

Ibiza starts from €21,110 or €209 per month with 2.9pc PCP finance. New Arona is from €25,465 or €219 per month with the same finance offer. 

Customers can also add a 3-year Service Plan for €9.99 per month.


22 November 2022

Toyota concept compact SUV EV for Los Angeles reveal

This will likely be the look of Toyota's second battery electric production car, shown as the concept bZ Compact SUV that's making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, writes Brian Byrne.

The car is expected to be the next in a promise from the hybrid engine pioneer to offer 30 battery EVs by 2030.

Beyond the minimalistic design of the exterior, geared to provide extended range through good aerodynamics, the interior features eco-touches such as seating made from plant-based and recycled materials.

More information next month.

Citroen France offers short-term subscription service

Citroen in France has set up a subscription service for people who need a car for short periods of time, from a month to 12 months, writes Brian Byrne.

The 'Citroen on Demand' scheme offers a choice from three models, the electric quadricycle Ami, the C4 and the electric E-C4. The whole process is carried out online and the vehicle is delivered and collected from the subscriber's home.

Flexibility is a key component of the service, including the ability to continue the subscription on a month by month basis at the end of the original commitment period. It is available to any driver 21 years or older and having held a licence for three years.

There's no indication if the scheme will be available anywhere outside France. 

Mazda exploring biodiesel as another carbon-neutral fuel

While the move to electric cars continues inexorably in Europe, Mazda in Japan is continuing its 'multi-solution' strategy for automotive powertrains, writes Brian Byrne.

The Mazda2 Bio shown here is a test vehicle for a next-generation biodiesel created using biomass such as plants and micro-algae. It's called Susteo and is a combination of micro-algae and used cooking oil.

The carbon-neutral premise is that plants and microalgae absorb CO2 when they are growing and therefore the total amount of the climate heating gas is zero even after use in the car's engine.

In Japan, a commercial plant to mass produce such biodiesel is expected to be open in 2025. Susteo is used by the Mazda Spirit Racing Team.

Acknowledging the rapid global shift towards battery EVs, Mazda says many questions still remain remain, such as whether the electricity used to power these vehicles is generated from eco-friendly sources, and are the source materials used in the manufacture of the batteries sustainable and environmentally friendly? Nations where electricity is yet to be readily available to everyone will also need alternative solutions to EVs. 

21 November 2022

More engines for Cupra Leon

The Cupra performance brand has added four new engine variants to its Leon range, which now starts at €33,615, writes Brian Byrne.

The new engines are 1.5 petrol in standard with manual and mild-hybrid with automatic transmissions, both 150hp. There's also a 1.4 petrol plug-in hybrid with 204hp and a 2.0 245hp petrol. The full powertrain lineup is completed with a 1.4 245hp PHEV and a 2.0 300hp petrol.

There are two trim lines across the range, the upper one called VZ. Two new upgrade packs are available. 

Continental Tyres is Pakman Tyre Champion

Bill Collins, CEO of Circol ELT, presents the Pakman Tyre Champion Award to Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland.

Continental Tyres won the Tyre Champion award for 2022 at the recent Pakman national environmental and sustainability awards, writes Brian Byrne. The awards, organised by Repak, recognise excellence in recycling and waste management among businesses, organisations, community groups and initiatives in Ireland.

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland expressed his delight at the winning of the award, saying it is a great recognition of the strides that the company has made in integrating sustainability as a key driver across all the levels of their organisation.

The citation noted how, in the past year, the company has achieved top performance in the International Sustainability Rating, with Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) honouring their efforts in climate change mitigation for the fourth year in a row. Also instrumental in Continental’s win was the fact that the company already consumes 55 percent less water and 17 percent less energy than the industry average per metric ton of tyres produced. 

Continental Tyres Ireland prepared a detailed submission for the Pakman award that listed a range of sustainability-focussed initiatives which the company has implemented across Europe. An example is the company’s new ground-breaking ContiRe.Tex technology which makes Continental the first tyre manufacturer in the world to launch volume production of recycled polyester yarn obtained from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles into passenger car tyres. 

Continental is a title sponsor of the all-electric Extreme E racing series, and for the championship's second season, which opened in February 2022, Continental has developed a tyre for participating vehicles which uses ContiRe.Tex. A third of this new tyre is now made from recycled and renewable raw materials, including silica obtained from the ashes of rice husks — a waste product from agriculture — alongside reprocessed steel and carbon black. The support vehicles for this year’s Tour de France were also equipped exclusively with ContiRe.Tex tyres. 

16 November 2022

Toyota's new Prius coming next spring

Toyota has revealed the fifth generation of its Prius, the nameplate that started the petrol-hybrid technology, writes Brian Byrne.

Prius was first launched in 1997, the latest version will be exclusively a plug-in hybrid, based on a 2.0 148hp petrol engine and a front-axle electric motor, offering a system output of 223hp.

The car will come to Europe in the spring of next year. Over the years, Toyota has spread its hybrid EV technology across is range of cars, and currently HEV cars account for 90pc of the brand's sales in Ireland.

15 November 2022

Circle K deliveries to come by renewable diesel

Jonathan Diver, Fuels Director with Circle K Ireland.

Circle K fuel delivery vehicles are themselves to be fully fuelled by renewable diesel by early 2023, writes Brian Byrne.

The fuel, milesBIO HVO100, is a completely fossil-free biofuel made from waste by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption from the food industry and can be used to power diesel vehicles. HVO alternative diesel offers an up to 90pc reduction in carbon emissions over regular diesel. This renewable diesel has been available across Scandinavia at Circle K locations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark in recent years.

The fuel will also be available to commercial customers at Circle K’s service station in Dublin Port, with the product to be rolled out at Circle K’s locations in Cork and Galway in the coming months, to support commercial customers in decarbonising the journeys of their own respective fleets. Organisations operating large fleet transport vehicles in sectors such as refuse, retail, and logistics amongst others will benefit greatly from this new product.