Larne Borough Council is backing the eco-friendly e-car scheme to promote electric vehicles and develop a supporting infrastructure in NI.
During an e-car driveshow event held at Larne Town Hall on Wednesday, April 9, councillors and members of the public were invited to question the scheme’s representatives before test-driving e-cars.
Speaking at the event, e-car’s Northern Ireland Manager Irene Breen told the Larne Times that the public had responded well to Driveshow events across the province.
She stated: “There has been a very good turnout at the events and a huge amount of interest. The atmosphere here is good and there is a generally positive outlook towards electric vehicles by Northern Ireland drivers. There are four charging points in Larne town, one in Carnlough, one in Ballygally and one in Glenarm. We have installed over 300 charging points throughout Northern Ireland.”
The e-car manager revealed that whereas there were initially only five e-cars in Northern Ireland, there are now 150.
She also declared that e-cars could offer significant fuel savings: “Rather than costing 12-15p a mile like a normal car, an e-car can cost 2-4p a mile. In Northern Ireland fuel prices have increased by 39 per cent in three years, so electric vehicles can safeguard families against burgeoning fuel costs.”
Mayor of Larne Councillor Maureen Morrow commented: “It doesn’t just benefit Larne but the whole of Northern Ireland. One man today said he personally was saving £300 a month on fuel. Although the figues vary, there are significant savings.
“Last year we had several French enquiries about e-car charging points as there are more electric cars in France. Once, when I was in Paris, I counted 10 charging points at the Arc de Triomphe!”
Members of the public who attended the Driveshow displayed mixed reactions towards e-cars.
Larne resident Sam Young added: “The running costs for me are not just about comparing it with the cost of petrol and diesel-they include the purchase price, maintenance, selling price and fuel.
“No one has been able to figure out how electric cars compare in all those areas combined.”
However, Rosslea man Jim Beattie, who bought an e-car in order to save money, said the vehicle had “more than lived up to expectations.”
He added: “I’ve done 12-13,000 miles and it still qualifies for mileage allowance-I would say that in three or four years it will pay for itself.”