Larne will be a ‘plugged-in place’ for new electric cars

LARNE will be a Plugged In Place under a pilot scheme aimed at getting Northern Ireland ready for electric motoring.

The local council is part of an ecar consortium which is investing over £2 million in electric vehicle infrastructure in Northern Ireland, aided by a grant of £850,000 from the Office for Low Vehicle Emissions (OLEV).

Larne will be one of the first towns in the Province where public charging points will be installed as part of the project launched by transport Minister Danny Kennedy and Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

Formally introducing the ecar brand and website, Mr Kennedy explained it was an important step in raising awareness of electric vehicles.

“This project will see charging points installed in six towns and cities as well as near some of our major roads,” he said.

Minister Attwood said he believed the use of electric vehicles, “ideally powered by electricity from renewable sources, is an excellent way to decarbonise transport and contribute to climate change, air quality and noise objectives”.

The ecar consortium jointly led by the DRD and DoE comprises NIE, ESB, Donnelly Motor Group, Power NI, SAP, and Intel, as well as Larne Borough council and the local authorities in Derry, Newry and Mourne, Armagh and Fermanagh.

The first public charging posts are to installed in Belfast, Londonderry, Armagh, Newry, Enniskillen and Larne by the end of the year. It will take between two and six hours to fully charge a car, depending on the type and battery size.

A number of rapid chargers situated near to major motorways will charge the car in 25 to 30 minutes to 80 per cent of its full charge.

Car owners will be able to access the charge points with a secure key fob. The plug-in point may be a pre-pay device, or it could be added to the car owner’s domestic electricity bill.

The project is also working on home and work place charging solutions for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle users.

The ecar online information can be accessed at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/ecar. People can also keep up to date with the work of the project through the ecar newsletter and also on the ecar facebook page.