Surge in interest as 20,000 apply to test out 24 electric cars
A NATIONWIDE effort to recruit 24 electric car drivers has received 20,000 applications from people desperate to get a flavour of silent, battery-powered motoring.
The ESB says that its offer to give 24 Irish people the opportunity to use its smart recharging system with the aid of an electric vehicle has garnered twice the number of entries as a similar programme last year.
Under the initiative, eight cars will be loaned out for four months to 24 people. The cars include vehicles from Nissan, BMW, Renault, and Citroen.
Electric cars, which run silently, cost around €3 to recharge at home and are currently free to charge at ESB's public power points across the country.
With minimal road tax because of zero carbon dioxide emissions, the cars' driving range varies from 120km to 200km on a single charge.
Last November, Taoiseach Enda Kenny pitched Ireland as a place to make electric cars to Tesla founder, Elon Musk.
However, the European Commission has said it will soon make electric vehicle manufacturers install 'Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems' (AVAS) to protect road users from being taken by surprise by the silent cars.
"Ireland made a submission (to the Commission) that hybrid and electric vehicles would require the mandatory fitment of AVAS," said Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
"Other member states were supportive of these proposals, and by the end of the Irish presidency a consensus was achieved, which requires vehicle manufacturers to install AVAS in new types of vehicles within four years and then to all new vehicles within six years."
Meanwhile, a third US state has banned the direct sale of Tesla electric cars.
New Jersey has followed Texas and Arizona in enacting legislation to forbid Tesla's ability to sell electric cars without using the traditional car dealer model.