ELECTRIC cars supplied by a Dublin firm are about to make a green impact on the Aran Islands.
The eight Mega e-City cars are taking part in Europe's first practical study on integrating renewable energy, electric transport, storage heating and other environmental initiatives and showing it can "lead to a sustainable, money-saving solution" for energy needs.
The cost of charging the cars on the islands is estimated to be as low as €60 a year. The Mega e-City vehicles have no exhaust and zero emissions when driven.
"Even if you take account of the CO2 produced in supplying the electricity to the mains socket to charge the car, the Mega e-city still has lower emissions than any combustion engine," its backers say.
"With renewable energy and carbon offsetting, this would be zero in the near future."
Robert Nolan, managing director of Green Machines, based in Dublin, said that having spent some time working on the project, it was "fantastic" to see the delivery of the eight vehicles to the islands this week.
"The Mega e-City cars are ideal as they're built to perform and maintain their high quality appearance in the harshest of environments," he said.
"I don't think that the French manufacturer could have asked for a better proving ground than the Aran Islands."
As part of the study, the cars will be used as everyday transport by participants on the islands. Their charging patterns and usage of electricity will then be monitored. It's planned that when they're charging, mainly at night, they will use energy from renewable sources.
Green Machines, established in 2001, say that since then they have sold more than 600 vehicles to the Irish market, including ped-electric bikes, scooters, motorbikes, cars and large commercial vehicles.