Green light for electric motoring in Ireland

ESB announces first electric car trial programme for Ireland in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin. Mitsubishi Motors identifies Ireland as ideal test environment and announce the supply of electric cars for the trial.

Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, MC Automobile (Europe), N.V. and MMC Commercials Ltd. in Dublin announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties to further promote the electric vehicle (EV) industry in Ireland.

Additionally, Ireland’s first electric vehicles trial-project conducted by Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) School of Engineering on behalf of ESB was also announced the same day.

As part of the trial, the all-electric, zero-emission Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (i-MiEV) will be used throughout Ireland to support the planning and implementation of the ESB nationwide charging infrastructure.

The customer behaviour and attitudes research to be undertaken by TCD will be crucially important in understanding how customers want to use their electric vehicles.

The parties intend to make the vehicles available to a wide range of users – both residential and pilot corporate customers – and to promote electric vehicles in light of the recently announced enhanced Irish Government incentives. The Irish Government has set a target of 10% for all vehicles on Irish roads to be electric by 2020.

Minister Eamon Ryan said, “Today’s Memorandum with Mitsubishi and ESB’s trial with Trinity College is another important milestone in the electrification of the Irish motoring fleet. Ireland is leading the way and with such innovation from ESB, TCD and our new partnership with Mitsubishi, our international position is further strengthened. Irish drivers and the Irish economy will only benefit.”

A “Smart Home Charging” system will be trialled which will allow the cars maximise the amount of energy they get from renewable sources like wind energy, while also facilitating the operation of the electricity system.

This is a key requirement for a successful transition to carbon neutral sustainable travel and ESB has committed to installing 1,500 publicly accessible charging stations, 2,000 domestic charging points and 30 fast charging units on a nationwide basis throughout Ireland by the end of 2011.

ESB’s Chief Executive, Padraig McManus said “Ireland is at the forefront of adopting electric vehicles, and ESB is pressing ahead with its charging points programme. As a major force in the global market, Mitsubishi Motors’ endorsement of Ireland as an environment for electric vehicles is extremely encouraging. The pilot project will provide ESB with a more in-depth knowledge of how the technology and its integration into the electricity network will work.”

Viewing Ireland as an ideal market for electric vehicles in Europe, Mitsubishi Motors has made available 15 all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in advance of the European launch in October 2010. The vehicle has been an enormous success since its introduction in Japan in July 2009.

Speaking at the event, the President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe B. V., Akinori Nakanishi said: “The i-MiEV is one of the first consumer electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries to be launched in Europe and is set to revolutionise the way we think about cars. It is the pinnacle of Mitsubishi Motors’ environmental technology and a symbol of our commitment to reducing our impact on the planet. We see Ireland as a very important market for electric vehicles and are delighted to be announcing this MOU with the Irish Government and ESB”

Tomoo Yoshikawa, President & CEO of MC Automobile (Europe) N. V. said: “The test programme announced today will provide important feedback as we plan for the European version launch of the i-MiEV in October 2010, when the cars will be available to Irish consumers.”

Commenting on i-MiEV testing in Ireland, Billy Riordan, Group Managing Director of MMC Commercials Ltd., the Mitsubishi Motors distributor in Ireland said: “Ireland is the perfect test environment for electric vehicles. We are traditionally a small car market, have ample renewable energy resources as well as an environmentally conscious and responsible consumer. With sufficient focus and investment, Ireland can be a world leader in the introduction of electric vehicles. With the commercial launch of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV later this year, we are hoping to lead the charge in this exciting new driving experience for Irish motorists.”

Professor of Civil Engineering, Margaret O’Mahony of TCD and lead academic of the Research Programme said: “We are delighted to be involved in this trial which will evaluate the potential of the role of electric vehicles in addressing key energy and environmental solutions for society.”

Mitsubishi Motors is at the forefront of EV development and plan to bring to market a range of full electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the coming years.

The i-MiEV: The performance, equipment levels and safety features of the i-MiEV compare extremely favourably with all its’ petrol/diesel equivalents. Standard specifications include ABS, airbags, ISO FIX, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, CD/radio/USB player and Bluetooth telephone connectivity.

Where it differs is an electric motor, inverter and recharger replaces the conventional engine and compact lithium ion batteries replace the fuel tank that produces zero tailpipe emissions. The result is a car with a top speed of 130km per hour and an achievable range of 130km and can be charged in seven hours in the home. With a quick charge an 80% “fill” can be achieved in 30 minutes.