Electric cars a reality for Ireland

Padraig McManus, ESB Chief Executive sitting in a Renault Fluence ecar shaking hands with Eamon Ryan, Minister Department Communications and Natural Resources who is sitting in a Nissan LEAF Electric Car
ESB Chief Executive Padraig McManus and Minister Eamon Ryan at the Government, ESB and Renault-Nissan partnership agreement Download hi-res image

DUBLIN (April 12, 2010) - The Irish Government, the ESB, the nation's largest electricity utility, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance today announced a comprehensive partnership to position Ireland as a European leader in electric transport.

Today's Definitive Agreement includes the development of a nationwide electric car charging infrastructure by ESB, the supply of electric cars by the Renault-Nissan Alliance from 2011, as well as Government policies and incentives that will support the widespread adoption of such vehicles.

Those who purchase electric cars can avail of the €5,000 grant, which the Irish Government announced today. Irish buyers of electric vehicles will be exempt from Vehicle Registration Tax.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan described today's announcement as on-the-ground delivery of Government policy. "The Programme for Government announced our intention to transform the Irish energy and transport sectors. We have made great strides in renewable energy, energy efficiency and now we begin the electrification of our transport fleet.

The Irish Government's target is for 10% of Ireland's vehicles to be electric by 2020. Today's Agreement with Nissan-Renault will see 2,000 cars on Irish roads by 2011. This keeps us firmly on track to achieve, if not exceed, our goals.

Those purchasing an electric vehicle will be grant aided by the Government to the tune of €5,000 and exempt from VRT. The ESB will provide the charging infrastructure in the homes of the new owners of electric cars.

Irish motorists can look forward to the cash, cars and charging points that will make the electric car the smart choice for the Irish motorist."

Under the agreement, ESB will roll out 3,500 charge points nationwide by December 2011. The roll out has already begun in Dublin and charging points will also be installed in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick. ESB also plans to install 30 fast charge points across Ireland by the end of 2011, with nine expected to be set up by the end of this year.

ESB Chief Executive Padraig McManus described today's announcement "as another important milestone on the road to develop an emissions-free transport system."

"ESB is currently rolling out a nationwide infrastructure to support the widespread use of electric cars. Ireland will be one of the first countries in the world to have a nationwide electric charging network which will offer opportunities for enterprise and job creation, as well as the obvious environmental benefits of ultimately having a decarbonised transport fleet," he said.

Nissan will supply its all-electric, five-seater LEAF hatchback to Ireland in early 2011 while Renault will launch its light commercial electric vehicle, Kangoo Z.E., later in the year. By the end of 2011, Renault will also supply 100 pre-production Fluence Z.E.s for a pilot project in Ireland. Fluence Z.E., an electric sedan for both private and professional use, will go on sale in Ireland in 2012.

All three vehicles will be fitted with the latest generation of lithium-ion batteries produced by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC Tonkin.

Philippe Klein, executive vice president of planning and control at Renault SAS, said: "The Renault-Nissan Alliance's commitment to the global mass marketing of electric vehicles requires the close co-operation of many partners around the world. Thanks to Ireland's determination to be a leader in electric mobility transport, the necessary conditions - including incentives and infrastructure are being put in place in this country to allow for the successful adoption of electric vehicles in the near future."

Pierre Loing, vice president of product strategy and planning of Nissan International SA and head of the company's zero emission business unit in Europe, said: "Renault and Nissan look forward to providing Irish customers with affordable, all-electric vehicles that are built to the same high standards in terms of performance, roominess, comfort and quality that customers expect from both brands."

ESB is designing an infrastructure that will ensure open access to all car manufacturers and all energy suppliers. Trials and pilots will be conducted by ESB to test the infrastructure and collect the data necessary to examine driving trends, usage patterns as well as the new electric car lifestyle experience.

Today's Definitive Agreement follows a Memorandum Understanding signed by the three parties last April to study the promotion of electric vehicles in Ireland.

"Nissan Ireland is delighted to be part of such an historic occasion for the motor industry in Ireland and Europe. We look forward to delivering a new and emission-free driving experience to Irish customers with Nissan's electric vehicles starting with LEAF in early 2011," said Gerard O'Toole, chairman of Nissan Ireland.

Eric Basset, managing director of Renault Ireland, said: "Due to its relatively small size, Ireland is ideally suited for the introduction of electric vehicles and as a pilot for the rest of Europe, As the population of Ireland is predominantly centred around the major urban areas of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, and with the average vehicle covering approximately 75 km per day, electric vehicles are ideally suited to address the every day needs of both private and business use."

Renault and Nissan are among the leaders in development of pure electric vehicles and together have announced global production capacity of 500,000 units per year. To date, the Alliance has entered into more than 50 partnerships worldwide with countries, cities, organisations and other key stakeholders to prepare the markets and infrastructure for the successful adoption of electric vehicles around the world.