Drivers of electric vehicles must pay €1,200 annual fee for battery rental
MOTORISTS who want to 'go green' by buying an electric car will have to pay €1,200 a year to rent the battery.
French motoring giant Renault admitted yesterday that the battery would not be included in the price of four electric vehicles (EVs) which will go on sale from next year.
But Thierry Koskas, head of Renault's EV project, said that motorists who drove more than 30km a week would still save money.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said the average annual mileage of motorists was almost 17,000km (10,500 miles). Renault said savings would kick in from 12,000km per year.
It costs just three cent to run an EV per mile travelled, compared to 15 cent for a petrol- or diesel-powered car.
"We will sell cars without the battery," said Mr Koskas.
"The customer pays the battery lease of €100 per month, and for the electricity. As long as you drive 12,000km a year, or 30km a day, it will pay you."
The admission came as the ESB yesterday announced the location of 1,500 public charging points across the country where cars can be 'refuelled'.
Four have already been installed in Dublin -- two at the ESB's headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street, one at the Department of Energy on Adelaide Road and a fourth at the offices of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland at Wilton Place -- and hundreds more will be rolled out over the coming year.
There will be 500 in Dublin city and county, 135 in Cork and 45 each in Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
By the end of June, a dozen will be installed in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Portlaoise.
Another 2,000 will be installed in homes and every town with a population of more than 1,500 people will have at least one.
It takes up to two hours for an 80pc recharge on most EVs and between six and eight hours for a full recharge.
Motorists will have to register to get a personalised electric fob to allow them access the public charge points, but recharging will be free until the end of the year.
Some 30 'fast' chargers -- which give a 85pc charge in just 25 minutes -- will be located along all major inter-urban routes, 60km apart.
Nine of these will be installed by the end of 2010 and a further 18 next year.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan described the development as "a genuine first for Ireland".
He said: "Ireland will be among the first in the world with this kind of nationwide infrastructure. It is bold, ambitious and will show Ireland as a global leader in the green economy."
The Government wants 10pc of all vehicles to be electric by 2020, with 2,000 sold by the end of next year and 6,000 by 2012.
The sale prices of the Renault models have yet to be decided -- but they will be more expensive than either petrol or diesel cars.