Wednesday 17 January 2018

Why people are driving electric - and how more need to be encouraged

Sandra Flavin from Rush, a Dublin ecar ambassador, with Dermot McArdle, Head of ESB ecars.
Sandra Flavin from Rush, a Dublin ecar ambassador, with Dermot McArdle, Head of ESB ecars.
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

A SPECIAL ESB ecar event takes place in Dublin today as we look again at the role, relevance and future of electric cars.

It is part of the 'ESB Powering Potential Expo' on innovation, energy and technology and is designed to highlight what is, or could be, next for electric cars.

Meantime, here are the results of the Great Electric Drive - the trial in which people tell of their times with an electric car. There will be more details at the event.

During the trial, 32 'ambassadors' using 10 vehicles in all covered more than 200,000km.

They reckon they saved more than €18,000 in running costs and the equivalent of 34 tonnes of emissions.

One-in-four (80pc) journeys were taken in the ecar at least once a day with 80pc driving several times daily. One-third (34pc) of the driving was urban, 36pc rural and 30pc intercity - a sign of the fast-charge point network being used.

On average, they drove 270km a week; 67pc charged the car at home each day and the other 33pc did so 2/3 times a week.

All felt the fast-charge network is essential.

They also said the three best things about the cars were: impact on environment, running costs, good value. And a substantial 67pc said they would consider buying one.

This is important information as it shows ordinary people adapting to, and managing with, electric cars.

While the endeavour and enthusiasm of getting more on our roads is praiseworthy, we still have a journey ahead when it comes to switching to electric cars.

It is clear we are not rushing to buy them - though there is growth - despite generous government and SEAI incentives.

It is also quite clear that people are waiting for a 'big' development, the one that will give you upwards of 400km on one charge and cars that will cost less to buy.

Car companies are pushing hard and Tesla, for one, is showing how to link up an electric network, in the UK, to cut range anxiety.

I feel, in the medium term, it is going to take something really innovative from government to get us to buy more electric cars.

It could take the form of more grants, tax incentives, cheaper electricity etc. I don't know.

But something is needed to kick start what appears to be, admittedly on a relatively limited basis, a potentially good idea all round.

Any ideas? Do you drive an electric car? Why? Let us know at:

Irish Independent

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