The Future of Electric Transport

What will Irish roads look like in 2050? That may be the unknown but there is one certainty on what type of car will be driving; it will either be electric or autonomous. As witnessed globally, the transition to electric transport has been gathering momentum over the last 10 years and that will only strengthen.

ecars Great Electric Drive Programme

Electric-drive vehicles use electricity to power their motors, instead of using conventional fuels such as petrol or diesel.

The electricity is stored inside a battery, which must be recharged periodically by plugging in the vehicle to an outside power source, , or through methods of capturing energy that is normally lost in braking, known as regenerative braking.

Reduced Maintenance

  • EVs have fewer moving parts and so do not need the services for complex internal combustion engine and transmission such as oil changes and spark plug replacement.
  • As EVs also have regenerative braking which returns energy to the battery, this also eliminates the need for braking maintenance and parts such as pads and rotors.
  • The batteries in EVs are engineered to last the service life of the car, and costs are coming down.

Monetary Benefits

  •  EVs have the lowest rate of motor tax available in Ireland at €120 per annum.
  • An electric vehicle can reduce your transport fuel costs by 74% compared to a comparable diesel engine car. Check out the cost calculator to devise the costs between electric and conventional cars here.
  • A reduction in price of up to €10,000 is available for electric vehicles due to an SEAI grant and zero VRT.

Environmental Benefits

  • Almost one quarter of the electricity supplied to an EV is generated from clean renewable energy in Ireland. 
  • An electric car can drive with zero emissions in our cities while making our lives quieter. 

Infrastructure and Car Range

  • There are currently over 1,200 public charging points installed across the island of Ireland by. A fast charge station at a motorway takes approximately 20 minutes to charge a car to 80% capacity and this is currently free. 
  • There are currently over 18 EVs models now available in Ireland that qualify for grant support from SEAI with more to come. The new 300km BMW i3 is now available in Ireland making it the longest range EV available in this country.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

A battery  electric vehicle (BEV) runs entirely using an electric motor and battery, without the support of a traditional internal combustion engine, and must be plugged into an external source of electricity to recharge its battery.

Types of BEVs

  • Nissan Leafs
  • BMW i3
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Tesla Model S
  • Volkswagen e-Golf

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs have both an internal combustion engine and electric motor. These vehicles are powered by an alternative fuel or a conventional fuel, such as petrol, and a battery, which is charged up with electricity by plugging into an electrical outlet or charging station.

Types of PHEVs

  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • VW Golf GTE
  • BMW i3 REX

As more of Ireland’s electricity is generated from renewable energy, the level of emissions associated with electric motoring will approach zero. With the current mix of fuels used to generate electricity in Ireland, emissions will be on average less than half of those of a conventional internal combustion engine (70gCO2/km for an electric car versus 150gCO2/km for a conventional car).

There are three types of charging options:

  • Home charging - 6-8* hours
  • Public charging - 2-6* hours
  • Fast charging takes as little as 25* minutes to achieve an 80% charge.

*Due to different types and battery sizes of electric cars, these times may vary.

The ratings marked on charge points is the maximum continuous rate of charge available to an electric vehicle from the charger. 
The vehicles Battery Management System (BMS) continuously controls the rate during a charging session and dictates the rate of charge. The rate depends on a number of factors outside of the control of the charger.

The most common factors affecting the charging rate are:

Make & Model of EV


Some models of EVs are not capable of availing of the full kW available from a charge point but can still obtain a charge suitable to its own maximum charging rate.

State of Charge (SOC) of Battery

The rate of charging allowed by the EVs BMS reduces as the battery comes closer to fully charged in order to reduce stress on the battery pack. This reduction for most EV models starts around 50% and charge rate reduces dramatically after 80%. Fast charging is most effective up to 80% SOC.

Temperature of Battery

If the battery is too cold or too hot the EVs BMS will adjust the rate of charge to protect the cells of the battery. Some EVs will activate internal heaters or fans to maintain a temperature between 20 to 25 °C. The main factors affecting battery temperature ​are the amount of driving and charging done up to the charging session.

Electric cars are capable of conventional car speed, acceleration and power. Electric supercars such as the Tesla can reach 0 – 60 km in 3.7 seconds and top speeds of 200 km/h. Electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF reach 0 – 60 km in 10 seconds and can drive up to 140 km/h. View the choice of electric cars or choice of electric fleet vehicles available here.