Expert: ‘Hybrid before electric’

Ireland has a long way to go before electric cars become a viable alternative — and the Government should prioritise the promotion of electric-hybrid alternatives, says a motoring expert.

Michael Rochford of said the growth of hybrids was huge compared to electric so government policy should reflect that.

“Ireland has a long way to go before the mass consumer market will turn to all- electric vehicles as a viable alternative. The growth in all electric vehicle sales is tiny in comparison to the growth in hybrid-electric alternatives.

“Sure, the Government could do a lot more to encourage the mass market to switch to all-electric vehicles but the more sensible approach would seem to be to incentivise the mass market to move towards electric-hybrid alternatives in the immediate term.”

Mr Rochford said there are a number of hurdles to consider before motorists would gravitate towards electric cars.

“The problem for the mass market is the lack of supporting infrastructure, combined with range anxiety, further combined with technology which is in its infancy and changing so rapidly that a new vehicle being purchased today will be obsolete in a year,” he said.

Cork City Council outlined plans to encourage electric cars this week, with more charging points planned in the city, including Paul St and North Main St multi-storey car parks, as well as the Black Ash Park & Ride.

The move towards electric cars is accelerating in Europe. Swiss engineer ABB said it will deliver 117 electric vehicle charging stations to German utility EnBW.

Power utilities such as EnBW, tech start-ups, and oil majors are vying to become dominant players in the fast-growing business of charging stations.

These are now increasingly being installed on Europe’s motorways to accommodate a new generation of electric vehicles with long-range batteries.

ABB, which has delivered more than 5,000 networked charging systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles worldwide, said the latest EnBW order follows a previous order from the utility for 68 of them last year.

They are due to be installed at service station operator Tank & Rast locations by the end of the year. It operates about 350 filling stations and 390 service areas on German autobahns.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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