The increasing popularity of electric cars is set to have a major effect on transportation in Ireland, according to the Evening Echo.
Cork wants to be at the forefront of the adoption of electric cars in Ireland, helping the region become greener while also creating new jobs.
To do this, companies and bodies have come together to encourage more people to adopt electric vehicles and to make it easier for them to charge them at home, work or in public places.
Called Drive4Zero, the initiative was launched in Cork today. For those who make the switch to electric cars Drive4Zero promises zero emissions, zero parking costs due to negotiated free parking for the campaign period, zero fuel costs as employees can charge at work or at designated public places and drive without fuel costs.
Fuel costs for electric cars are a fraction of what it costs to run petrol or diesel vehicles.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) already provides grants of €5,000 to the purchaser of an electric vehicle, while ESB provides free charge points for home or commercial sites.
Drive4Zero has also negotiated zero per cent finance or zero deposit offers for those choosing electric vehicles from participating car companies Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi and BMW. Zero toll charges will also apply for Cork ecar drivers.
The Drive4Zero initiative is also spearheaded by Minister for Agriculture and Defence, Simon Coveney TD, who has himself been driving an electric car in recent months.
UCC’s Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MAREI) is driving the project and the extensive list of partners includes the city and county councils, Energy Cork, ESB and SEAI.
There is still reluctance among drivers to make the switch, primarily over the fear that the car, like a mobile phone, could run out of battery.
It is for this reason the Drive4Zero scheme places a significant emphasis on increasing the number of electric charge points at home, at work and in public places.
Free parking in some multistoreys, free use of Cork’s Park and Ride and free tolls add further incentives. The Government is looking at allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes.
By promoting Drive4Zero now Cork is hoping to steal a march on other regions in Ireland. By having significant numbers of electric vehicles in the region Cork can develop key maintenance and commercial skills that will drive job creation in the green economy.
Cork is planning to make a bid for European Green Capital and a growing fleet of electric vehicles in the city and county will help achieve that goal.
For more see www.drive4zero.ie.
How you can get involved in the Drive4Zero initiative
Visit an ecar dealer (Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, BMW) and choose the right car for you.
Purchasers of new 100% electric cars will receive a grant of up to 5,000, while purchasers of plug-in hybrid electric cars will receive up to 2,500.
You need to apply for a home charge point or a commercial charge point through your employer to have one at work.
When you have purchased your ecar, an electrical contractor will contact you to organise the installation of the home charge point, which is free for the first 2,000 new electric cars registered that qualify for the SEAI grant.
The cost of charging at home will simply be added to your regular domestic bill. If you opt to install a night-time meter, you can avail of cheaper night rate electricity.
Electricity at public and fast charge points will be at no cost until the payment processing system is implemented, and drivers will be notified of this in advance.