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Ireland: Electric vehicles to get free parking if new laws are put in motion

ELECTRIC car drivers could get prime city parking spots free of charge under legislation being introduced by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.

New measures to allow local authorities to reserve certain parking spots for electric vehicles — and waive or reduce parking charges for their use — are set to be tabled within weeks.

The move is aimed at encouraging more drivers to switch to clean electric cars, as currently there are only around 200 such vehicles on the road.

The ESB has rolled out 233 public recharging points, and said it will have 1,500 in place by 2013, but currently drivers can find access to roadside charge points hindered because there’s nothing to stop other motorists parking at the bays.

Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy drafted the Smarter Transport Bill because a major stumbling block in current legislation means local authorities cannot even designate on-street recharging stations for electric vehicles only.

“Recharging stations like individual mini-petrol stations are being rolled out nationwide, but you currently have the ridiculous situation where an electric car driver can’t refuel because a normal car is hogging the space,” he said.

“Local authorities would also be able to say electric cars can get half price or free parking in certain spots, which are the kind of incentives we need to encourage their use,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar said he supported the measures and planned to incorporate the legislation within a forthcoming road traffic bill to ensure it could get passed into law this year.

Electric car owner Brian Cullen said this was an important measure, and further incentives like zero road tax and allowing electric cars to use bus lanes should be considered.
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