New Kilkenny City bus won't be electric, but other options are still open

Council investigates possibility of using electric vans as number of electric vehicles on the roads increases


An electric charging point

The new city bus service will not be using electric vehicles, it has emerged — however, there will be a provision in the tender process for use of electric/low carbon emissions buses in future.

The new bus network, which was originally expected to be up and running this autumn, is to be fully subsidised by the State as a Public Service Obligation. It will serve, in particular, areas of high population density, deprivation and low car ownership in the city.

Local Green Party councillor Malcolm Noonan, who previously called for the provision of an electric or ‘biogas’ bus, says the National Transport Authority is not moving with the times, and that Kilkenny is missing out on an opportunity to be a leader in sustainable transport.

“We are all aware of issues of poor air quality in our smaller towns due to diesel engines, yet the NTA seems closed to the idea of electric or biogas buses,” he said.

“Similarly we have serious emissions reductions targets to meet for transport under the Paris Climate Agreement and we are missing out on a great chance here to lead the way. I think also that the general public would embrace electric or biogas and it would increase visibility and usage of the service.”

The update comes as Kilkenny County Council must attempt to plan for a future with potential for very different types of vehicles and a constantly-evolving motor industry.

It’s estimated that one in three vehicles will be electric by 2030. The chairman of the Carlow-Kilkenny Energy Agency recently noted this in a presentation to the Strategic Policy Committee on Infrastructure and Transport.

In January of this year, a total of 215 electric cars were sold in Ireland — almost half the number sold for the whole of 2016. Major European cities such as London are already making plans to ban diesel cars within the coming decade due to emissions problems.

There are currently 12 electric charging points in Kilkenny at present, eight of which are in the city. At the moment, there is no cost for using the public charging points.

It has also emerged that the council is currently pricing Nissan and Renault electric vans for possible use in the city. An economic assessment is to be carried out into this possibility.

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