Electric cars perfectly suited to rural use, Cork motorist insists

Les Mahon says most of his driving is local and he charges his car overnight

Mahon says that charging the car overnight generally means he has at least 360-380km range. Photograph: iStock

Mahon says that charging the car overnight generally means he has at least 360-380km range. Photograph: iStock

 

Les Mahon, an IT consultant, made the move to an electric car last year and happily dismisses myths about the unsuitability of EVs in rural Ireland.

Mahon, who lives in Fermoy with his wife, Chris; and three children, Ellie (15), Brigid (13) and Conor (10); initially bought his Kia E Soul last November because it meant that he was spared paying benefit in kind, which had rocketed on his previous car when his mileage dropped dramatically due to Covid.

“We run our own consultancy, and it’s a company car and pre-Covid,” he says. “I was on the road doing 1,000km a week, but when Covid struck, benefit in kind became an issue as it’s related to the mileage you do. But there’s no benefit in kind on electric cars so we bought a second-hand display model with 10k up on it.”

He paid €41,000 for the car and then a further €1,200 for a home charger, which replenishes the car’s 64-kilowatt battery at a rate of about 7.5kw per hour.

“On average it’s about 17kw hours per 100km on normal driving though on the motorway. We find you need 22kw hours to get 100km, but 90 per cent of our driving is just nipping around the place locally – school runs and into shops here in Fermoy,” he says.

Cross-country drive

Mahon says that charging the car overnight generally means that he has at least 360-380km range, which is more than sufficient. “I could drive to Donegal on one charge and, while I’m having lunch, recharge the battery and drive back Cork,” he says.

Charging the car fully from a normal electricity socket can prove time consuming – fully charging the 64kw battery could take up to 36 hours that way – but he has never had to resort to that. But Mahon does look forward to the day when there are more fast-charging stations around the country.

The ESB, through its e-Cars programme, is currently the largest provider of charging stations with some 1,350 charging points on the island, while the EasyGo group has some 400 charging points and Ionity has six ultra-fast 350kw charging stations that can each charge up to eight cars at a time.

The ESB public charging network comprises standard 22kw chargers, fast 50kw charges and high-power 150kw charges, and each charger type has a different kilowatt-per-hour rate of pay, with the ESB offering two price plans, membership and pay-as-you-go.