Free Now invests €6m in home chargers for Irish taxi drivers

Image: Paweł Czerwiński/ CCO

Charging availability and price are key barriers when it comes to switching to an EV

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15 January 2021 | 0

Free Now said it will invest €6 million to help Irish drivers to buy home chargers to alleviate pain points around switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

The ride-hailing app plans to provide €600 through rebates as part of its EV Home Charger Match Grant to up to 10,000 drivers who avail of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s home charging grant scheme.

The company has already met with stakeholders from across the taxi, transport, charging and business sectors to see how stakeholders can work together to reduce emissions and improve air quality across Ireland. It has also urged the government to encourage and support drivers financially to buy greener vehicles, which is crucial if Ireland is to meet its emissions targets.

 

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The announcement follows a recent survey of Free Now drivers in Ireland, which found that 68% were unsure about switching to an EV in the next one to three years, with charging availability and price the key barriers for drivers.

Further, research has shown that where drivers have the possibility to charge their EV either at home or at a depot, they can save up to €3,000 per year with an EV compared to an equivalent diesel car.

In addition to investing in home chargers for every driver by matching the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s grants, the ride hailing app will offset all emissions (backdated from 2020 onwards), through preservation and regeneration of forests and planting more than 20,000 trees across European cities.  

Free Now has urged the government to make some changes to regulation in order to help expedite the switch to cleaner vehicles, including:

  • To ensure that we have charging infrastructure in place across the country. While home charging will help, there is a need to ensure a large and dependable spread of chargers
  • In relation to grants, while there are supports in place, the government needs to review those supports to ensure they are appropriately targeted and consider focusing on a finance model as well as grants
  • There needs to be a greater number of EVs approved for use as taxis to offer drivers choice and ultimately lower the overall cost of purchase

“We take our responsibility as Ireland’s leading ride-hailing app very seriously and want to make a significant impact on improving air quality,” said  Niall Carson, general manager for Free Now Ireland 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. 

“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.”

In September 2020, Free Now launched its ‘Eco’ booking option which enables passengers to specifically choose electric or hybrid taxis to support Ireland’s drive to reduce carbon emissions.

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