Interest sparked as electric cars could cut costs by 80%
on 18/09/2013 00:00:00
The company estimated that the testers achieved combined fuel savings of €13,500 from driving approximately 105,000 kilometres, also reducing more than 10 tonnes in CO2 emissions. On average, each tester drove around 300km per week.
ESB e-cars manager, Dermot McArdle said the results indicated that annual savings of €2,300 per year could be made in fuel, maintenance, motor tax and insurance costs by driving an electric vehicle based on average distance travelled of 15,000km.
Mr McArdle said such savings combined with a recent drop in the price of electric vehicles combined with the €5,000 Government grant; the growing network of charge points; and improving technology made the switch to electric vehicles an "all-round attractive proposition" and "a realistic alternative to traditional means of transport".
For example the cost of a Nissan Leaf in 2010 was €35,000 with a range of 100km. The current model sells for €21,000 and has a range of 199km.
Mr McArdle claimed electric vehicles, whose main disadvantage is a limited range before the need for recharging, were suitable for most motorists based on their existing daily driving patterns.
He welcomed the positive reaction to the trial which resulted in 81% of the test motorists stating they were likely to move to driving an electric vehicle.
Around 1,000 public charge points are now in place across the country covering 95% of major towns and cities.
Mr McArdle said the growing use of electric vehicles had also helped to see the development of businesses providing infrastructure and services to the electric vehicle industry.
The Government has set a target that 10% of all vehicles on Irish roads in 2020 will run on electricity.
Emma Walls, marketing manager of Glenisk, said the company was delighted with the savings it recorded during the trial and had plans to expand its fleet of electric vehicles.
The 21 testers were chosen from more than 12,000 applicants and provided with one of four models: a Nissan Leaf, Renault Kangoo, Mitsubishi iMiEV or Smith Edison Transit Van.
The ESB said it was already accepting applications for a second series of the Great Electric Drive to start in early 2014.
'It was the best driving experience I've had'
Martha Doyle can't wait to sell her Audi A4 to get her hands on an electric car.
The 35-year-old teacher from Killeagh, Co Cork, said it is only a question of "when" rather than "if."
"The only issue is whether to buy it now or to wait until 2014 to get the new registration plate," laughed Martha.
As one of 21 "ambassadors" participating in the ESB's Great Electric Drive, Martha used her test vehicle most days to drive the 10km journey from home to Dungourney where she teaches in the local primary school.
"I absolutely loved it. It was very zingy," said Martha of her Mitsubishi iMiEV.
In addition, she loved the lack of noise emanating from the electric engine, while as an asthmatic she also welcomed the lack of the smell of fumes coming in through the air conditioning system
"It really is a no-brainer," said Martha of any decision to switch to an electric vehicle given its twin benefits of cost savings and being good for the environment.
IT consultant Eoghan O'Donoghue from Victoria Cross in Cork City, admits he will also be sad to relinquish his Mitsubishi model after 12 months' use of an electric car.
The 38-year-old father-of-two readily confesses that he too has become evangelistic on the subject of electric cars.
"I've calculated that the running cost of the electric model was just 3c per kilometre compared to around 11c for my Toyota Corolla which runs on petrol," explained Eoghan.
In particular, he was impressed by the low maintenance costs, given he spends around €500 per annum on his own family car. Another positive was the lack of need to stop in petrol stations.
While the only negative aspect of the experience was the limited range, Eoghan said the restriction was largely overcome by the fact that his employer - US multinational, EMC in Ballincollig - has also installed a charging point for its staff.
"It really was the best driving experience I've had. It is very smooth and responsive. If I was buying a new car tomorrow, I would certainly get an electric car," he said.