The Government has outlined its plans for 10% of the national road transport fleet to be powered by electricity by the year 2020.

The public has been told that Ireland's size suits electric vehicles, and the country can become an effective test centre for the world's car manufacturers.

The 10% target was first announced in the Carbon Budget, presented by Minister for the Environment John Gormley last month.

Today, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan and Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey fleshed out how 200,000 electric vehicles could be on our roads in 12 years.

Among the provisions will be a €1m research and development fund, tax incentives for companies buying electric vehicles as well as assistance for individual buyers.

Emissions from transport are Ireland's fastest growing greenhouse gas sector and so powering electric vehicles from renewable sources like wind turbines could significantly reverse that trend.

However, while the Government calls the 10% target ‘ambitious’, Israel has already promised to electrify its entire transport fleet by the same 2020 deadline.

Simon Coveney TD, Fine Gael’s spokesman on Energy described the government’s plans as ‘an unambitious and inadequate response to the emissions problem in the transport sector’.