Larne charges ahead in NI e-car initiative

editorial image

LARNE will continue to give a lead in encouraging greater use of electric-powered vehicles.

The local council, which has taken a positive approach to the developing technology by investing in a battery-driven e-vehicle for its street-cleansing fleet, will seek to add two new public charging points in the borough as part of an expanding network across Northern Ireland. There are currently charging points in the car parks at Riverdale, Circular Road and Agnew Street in Larne and one at Carnlough, with plans for another at Larne leisure centre car park and one in front of the Glenarm marina building.

In addition, the small-but-growing number of owners of e-cars will be able to boost power using planned facilities at the filling station at Redlands, and at Ballygally.

Recommending continued participation along with 20 other district councils in the Regional Electric Car Infrastructure Project, director of environmental services, Philip Thompson, revealed that in the first year of the DRD scheme only five electric cars had been sold in the Province.

In the next 12 months, 55 more had been bought.

He added that Larne was one of only six authorities to sign up to the initial consortium which secured £850,000 funding from the Office of Low Vehicle Emissions (OLEV) in the autumn of 2010 for a £2 million pilot scheme.

To date, 40 standard charging points have been installed in Northern Ireland, with 65 more to be in service by the end of this month and another 55 by the end of March. There will also be 14 rapid-charge points by March 31, including the Redlands facility.

OLEV has committed a further £425,000 to expand the programme in 2013-14. Mr Thompson said: “Once all this infrastructure is rolled out it is hoped that a standard-charge point would be available within any 10-mile radius and a rapid charger within any 30-mile radius.

“It is anticipated that a future EC directive, soon to be launched, will set targets for the availability of charge points within member states.”

Mr Thompson told councillors that to fully charge a car at home, using normal plugs, takes eight hours. Public standard-charge points will do the job in five to six hours, although a new Nissan Leaf model takes only two hours. The rapid charge can fully charge cars in 20 minutes.

The cost of a full charge is estimated at £2.

n Have you an electric-powered vehicle? We’d like to know if you are impressed! Contact the reporters at the Larne Times on 028 2827 2303 or email news@larnetimes.co.uk