Large Scale Infrastructure Changes Necessary to Meet Electric Vehicle Target

Media Information
18th February 2009

Electric Vehicle and Sustainable Transport Conference Opens in Dublin

Ireland can meet its target of making 10% of all road vehicles electric by 2020; however, significant large scale infrastructural changes will be required across the economy, including developing the capacity for recharging an estimated 250,000 passenger vehicles. This is according to Professor J Owen Lewis, Chief Executive, Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) speaking at the opening of this morning’s conference on Electric Vehicle and Sustainable Transport in Dublin. The conference is organised jointly by SEI and the ESB who today announced the introduction of a number of electric vehicles to the fleet operated by its networks business.

The conference is a platform for Ireland’s policy makers to consider the potential barriers to effective deployment of electric vehicles in Ireland in line with the Government’s ambitious 10% target. Delegates will hear from leading international experts who will speak on electric vehicle policy drivers and issues around research and development priorities, and examine sustainable transport technologies from a manufacturer’s perspective.

Professor J Owen Lewis said; “Interest in the use of electric vehicles is growing worldwide and Ireland is moving to prepare the way for this emerging form of transport by bringing together experts in the area to highlight the key issues which must be addressed. Ireland has a significant renewable energy potential in the form of wind and ocean energy. As these provide a variable supply of energy, with large amounts sometimes available at night time when our system demand is low, electric vehicles charging at night time will allow us to manage this renewable resource more effectively.”

ESB is committed to generating carbon-free electricity by 2035 and, in that context, argues that electricity can assist Ireland’s transport fleet to radically reduce its emissions. ESB’s Director of Sustainability, John Campion, said; “The electricity industry will play a vital role in reaching extremely challenging environmental targets in other sectors. The achievement of  carbon free electricity is the key to lowering harmful emissions in the transport sector. Not only will electricity be used to charge vehicles in an environmentally friendly way and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, it can also be used to recharge vehicles at night and during periods of least demand.”

“The reason that a significant investment in infrastructure will be required to facilitate even a modest deployment of electric vehicles in Ireland is that these vehicles require an extensive charging infrastructure which is not currently in place. This infrastructure also needs to be integrated with a supply of renewable electricity. Today’s conference is examining the policy considerations necessary to facilitate the development of such an infrastructure. This will require a high level of cooperation between both public and private bodies as has been demonstrated in pilot projects undertaken in other territories,” added Professor Lewis.

According to SEI, passenger fleet owners in Ireland are best placed to initially benefit from the efficiencies of electric vehicles, which could reduce fuel running costs by up to 50%. Ownership costs over the life of the vehicle tend to be higher at present due to the capital costs; however it is expected that with increased production and technology development this cost can be quickly reduced.

Today’s event  also features a large display of electric vehicles of varying sizes available on the Irish market including cars, vans and all-electric people carriers. There is an increasing number of hybrid and electric vehicles for consumers and fleet owners to choose from, and the associated battery and charging technology is developing rapidly.

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 Uncategorized