Electric cars are too small and lack the range required for the Lord Mayor’s needs, according to Cork City Council.
The local authority defended the decision to accept a hybrid car from Ford following a social media backlash, as members of the public criticised the long-standing arrangement whereby the motor company presents a new car to the Lord Mayor of Cork every year.
While last week’s presentation of a car follows a tradition established in 1989, pictures tweeted by the Council of Lord Mayor John Sheehan receiving the car from John Manning of Ford Ireland received critical replies.
“This tradition should end. It’s like having a picture of the Lord Mayor getting a year's supply of cigarettes. It might have seemed normal in the past but it looks dreadfully out of touch now. An elected Lord Mayor would not do this,” one member of the public said.
On the road again! The Lord Mayor received the 1st registered car in Cork for 2020. The new Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid 201-C-1 was presented by Henry Ford & Son LTD— Cork City Council (@corkcitycouncil) January 3, 2020
📸Lord Mayor Cllr. John Sheehan,Chief Executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty & John Manning Ford Ireland pic.twitter.com/SOzBoKTGvo
Another pointed out that there is both a bus stop and Bike Share station at City Hall, and called on the Lord Mayor to show leadership.
“How last century. Why not a bicycle?” another said, while a further accusation of being “tone deaf” was levelled at the Council.
The Council told thethat an electric car was not deemed suitable for the Lord Mayor.
“From Ford’s current range of cars, it was decided that the Mondeo HEV was the most appropriate for use by the Lord Mayor,” the Council said in a statement.
“Many electric models available in Ireland today are not suitable for the needs of the Lord Mayor, e.g. in many cases, range is too low or models are too compact,” it said.
While Ford currently does not sell any electric cars in the Irish market, the Council said the company is expected to add more electric and hybrid vehicles to its range this year, including one model that can drive 600km on a single charge.
Reviews of the car presented to the Lord Mayor, the Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid, say its emissions range from 98 to 103g/km, which is lower than regular petrol or diesel cars but higher than some other hybrids, including the Toyota Prius.
One UK-based publication has, for example, highlighted how its emissions are too high for the car to qualify for the exemption from the London Congestion Charge granted to low-emission vehicles.