Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said: “Through this agreement, my Department and DOE will be working with Renault and Nissan and learning from their expertise and experience. This agreement is especially welcome as DRD and DOE will be submitting a bid for the “Plugged in Places” electric vehicle infrastructure initiative very soon. I think it will strengthen our bid and show that the North is an innovative and dynamic region that major companies want to work with.”
Environment Minister Edwin Poots added: "I see the use of electric vehicles as an important alternative to fossil fuel powered travel which will help to decarbonise transport and contribute to our climate change, air quality and noise objectives. Electric vehicles are an exciting part of our transport future and I think this agreement will help to ensure that we start to enjoy the benefits that these vehicles bring sooner rather than later.”
Under the MOU joint working teams will be established to propose plans for an electric vehicle infrastructure network here. DRD and DOE also agreed to consider incentives to make electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries easier for customers to buy and run, while the Renault-Nissan Alliance will share information and ideas relating to charging networks, energy supply and electric car training. It will also help promote the development and use of electric cars in the region.
Thierry Sybord, Managing Director, Renault UK said: “Today’s agreement with Northern Ireland provides a unique opportunity to explore cross-border collaboration with the Republic of Ireland and access to their 1,500 charging points in the South. This, coupled with the Northern Ireland Government’s commitment to renewable energy, makes Northern Ireland an ideal market for the Alliance’s range of zero emission 100% electric vehicles, including four Renault vehicles by 2012.”
Paul Wilcox, Managing Director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd said: “By working together, Governments and car makers can help to make a real difference to the quality of life for future generations. Nissan looks forward to delivering the first electric car from the Alliance in early 2011 – the Nissan LEAF, an electric car with lithium ion batteries that is as much fun to drive as it is good for the environment.”
The Plugged in Places bid, joint led by DRD and DOE, will be submitted to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in London by 29 October. This initiative will provide funding for electric vehicle infrastructure to a number of successful cities or regions. The bid is also supported by a consortium including local councils and representatives of the IT, motor and energy industries.