230,000 electric cars by 2020, says Ryan


MORE THAN 200,000 Irish motorists will be driving electric cars in just over a decade, according to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Eamon Ryan said it was his department’s aim to have 10 per cent of the vehicles on the roads – or 230,000 – running on electricity by 2020.

Electric cars will be a feature on Irish roads within two years, he promised yesterday at the unveiling of a collaboration between the ESB, the Government and car manufacturers Nissan and Renault, to “promote the introduction” of the cars here.

“This historic agreement is proof of the Government’s firm intention to act on the electrification of transport,” he said.

Representatives from both Nissan and Renault were in Dublin for yesterday’s signing of memorandums of agreement between the manufacturers, Government and the ESB.

Thierry Koskas, programme director for electric vehicles with Renault, said the cars would cost about a tenth to run as compared with petrol and diesel cars.

“They can reach about 130km per hour, or about 100mph.”

Eric Nicholas, senior vice-president of Nissan, said Ireland was ideal as a country in which to develop the introduction of electric cars because of its size and the “political will” here.

He said a fully charged battery would enable a car to travel about 210 km, the equivalent of Dublin to Galway – and in Ireland 80 per cent of journeys were under 50km. Batteries can be charged in six to seven hours.

Mr Ryan said he thought electric cars would be “very popular here” and were the “perfect transport solution” to the energy crisis. He said there were already tax allowances in place for companies that would choose to buy electric vehicles over petrol or diesel ones.

ESB chief executive Pádraig McManus said this was a chance for Ireland to demonstrate its leadership in the green revolution.