In November 2021, the same month as COP26, the Department of Transport in Ireland published and launched the Climate Action Plan of 2021. This plan sets out a pathway that will transform how we travel with decarbonisation creating a cleaner greener transport system. Transport causes 18% of our carbon emissions. The plan sets out a pathway towards achieving a 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. It will be updated annually, and it outlines the steps required over the next 9 years to radically transform the way you travel and with that our move towards a fully decarbonised transport sector. There are over 70 actions in the transport chapter of the plan however the key metrics or tactical initiatives identified for and up to 2030 are as follows:
Suffice to say – we are entering a period of rapid and unparalleled change in the transport sector. The International Energy Agency reports that it expects global transport to double, however, major technological innovations can help offset this rise in demand. As the world shifts towards lower-carbon electricity sources, the rise of electric vehicles and the development of biofuel alternatives offer a viable option to reduce emissions.
Wexford County Council are committed to addressing their environmental impact, conserving resources and improving their bottom line through efficient energy management. Certification for the international, best practice Energy Management Standard ISO 50001 was achieved last year further paving the way towards better energy efficiency and carbon targets for 2030 and beyond. Wexford County Council achieved over 39% improvement in energy performance up to 2020 exceeding the 33% target (as outlined in the SEAI public sector Annual report 2021 published in February 2022).
Wexford County Council own and operate a fleet of over 250 vehicles to carry out their service delivery plan to the county. They are leading the way in the drive towards decarbonising their working fleet. It is estimated that 12-15% of the fleet of 250 vehicles is considered suitable to change over to EV
The first EV was purchased three years ago. There are now six fully electric vans servicing the county, three electric forklifts have replaced three diesels. One van has been placed at Wexford County Hall and three are for general use in the machinery yard. Another van is being used by the fire service and lastly one by the environmental warden. Hugh Russell, the machinery yard manager, is very impressed with the vehicles saying that the EVs were first put in place as run-abouts so that staff could experience what they are like for themselves. “They have been very well received, they’re easier to use with their stop/go pedals and are a smoother and quieter drive.”
Work is ongoing to help identify the next top ten vehicles to be replaced. Issues taken into consideration include the availability of off-street parking, employee buy-in, expenses policy, human resources and industrial relations. Community warden vans are being assessed for the transition to EV and an EV pickup is coming on trial soon. This vehicle will be suitable for many applications and can tow a 750kg trailer.
Currently, Wexford County Council are also looking at developing the infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles. They are looking at perhaps leaving these vans to charge in depots, the housing section are also to come on board with requirements for small vans and the infrastructure/facilities to charge them. EV chargers are currently installed in the following locations
- Four Double EV Chargers fitted to WCC County Hall (1x22Kw and 3x 7kw)
- Three Double 7kw EV Chargers fitted to Enniscorthy Machinery yard
- Double 22kw EV Chargers fitted to Wexford fire station
- Double 22kw EV Chargers fitted to Gorey fire station
- Two x Double 22kw EV Chargers being fitted to Whitemills depot, Wexford at present
- Gorey civic office considering chargers
- NR & EY civic offices to be assessed for EV chargers
New Public EV charging stations are confirmed for Kilmore Quay, Curracloe and Carrigfoyle. A gap analysis will be carried out in 2022 for even more installations throughout the county.
The EV used by the environmental warden, an LDV Maxus e-Deliver 52.5kWh panel van replaced a diesel – 2017 Citroen Berlingo. Data from both vehicles were analysed covering a period of six months and 15,852km.
Just like petrol or diesel engine cars, the consumption of EVs depends on the model and the manufacturer, however, to measure the fuel (electricity), we calculate how many kilowatt hours it takes to move an EV from one point to another in the same way as we would calculate how many litres of petrol/diesel is used to do the same work. An electric vehicle is more energy efficient, and a cleaner source of energy given that an EV directly converts electricity into movement. A conventional petrol/diesel must burn fuel (creating heat and dirt/smoke as a by-product) and then convert that heat into motion thus making the process less efficient.
Using the same data, it was found that the EV was indeed outperforming its predecessor on every level. Emitting 39% less CO2 and using 35% less energy to do the same work. Using today’s fuel costs of €1.676/Litre for diesel and €0.240/kWh for electricity a comparison was made for the same distance over the 6-month period, a saving of €734.30 was recorded. The EV was using 19.88kWh of energy to travel 100km whereas the diesel van was using 57.06kWh to travel the same distance.
Emissions data for the 34 diesel vans analysed in this study from May 2020 to January 2022 total 408 Tonnes of CO2. That is equivalent to the carbon emitted by driving over 1 million miles in an average petrol car and the same amount of carbon stored by 6700 newly planted trees over 10 years. The graph below shows CO2 emissions during this time. We can also see the dip in vehicle use during 2020.
CO2 emissions from a fleet of 34 diesel vans
Using the emission figures from the 34 diesel vans and replacing them with the emission figures of the LDV Maxus e-Deliver 52.5kWh panel van we can see a substantial drop in emissions as shown in the graph below. If all 34 vans were the same EV van, then only 90 tonnes of co2 would be produced, a drop of 317 tonnes of CO2. The 90 tonnes of CO2 would only require 1400 newly planted trees to offset their emissions compared to 6700 trees needed to offset current emissions.
CO2 Emission Comparison between the EV and the diesel-fuelled van fleet