Discount offered on electric cars
Eco-friendly motorists are in line for €5,000 discount if they opt for an electric car, it has been revealed.
Drivers switching to the greener option will also avoid the costly vehicle registration tax as the Government continues its drive to get plug-in and battery powered machines on the road.
Minister Eamon Ryan, of the Green Party, said the aim was to have 2,000 electric car users by the end of 2011.
"The Programme for Government announced our intention to transform the Irish energy and transport sectors," he said.
"We have made great strides in renewable energy, energy efficiency and now we begin the electrification of our transport fleet."
ESB, the state's electricity company, has committed to providing 3,500 charge points and 30 fast charge points around the country by the end of next year.
An extensive network of power sources will ease fears for drivers concerned over distance the motors can travel or top speeds.
The promotion, supported by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will see the car-makers offer discounts on the Nissan Leaf hatchback - billed as the world's first affordable, zero-emission car, with a top speed of more than 140km/h (90mph) and a range of more than 160km - and also the Renault Kangoo ZE, with a top speed of 130km/h and range of about 100km.
A half-hour charge could provide 80pc of full battery power while longer four-eight hour charges provide full power.
Despite the attraction of the grant, electric cars are at present consistently more expensive that then their gas-guzzling rivals. But the Government said with the discount and cheaper power, running costs in the first year will be a fifth of petrol models, based on current oil prices.