ESB Announces First Ecar Trial Programme for Ireland in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 27 May 2010

Ireland’s first ecar trial-project conducted by Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering on behalf of ESB was announced this week. On the occasion of the announcement in Trinity College, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, ESB and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, MC (Automobile) Europe and MMC Commercials also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties to further promote the ecar industry in Ireland.

Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Today’s Memorandum with Mitsubishi and ESB’s trial with Trinity College is another important milestone in the electrification of the Irish motoring fleet. Ireland is leading the way and with such innovation from ESB, TCD and our new partnership with Mitsubishi, our international position is further strengthened. Irish drivers and the Irish economy will only benefit.”

The TCD ecar trial research programme is being led by Professor of Civil Engineering, Margaret O’Mahony of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Structural Engineering and her research team.

Minister Eamon Ryan, ESB CEO Padraig McManus, PG TCD researcher John Brady, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering and Head of Department Laurance Gill, Lecturer in Civil Engineering Paul Johnston, Visiting Professor of Environmental and Transportation Engineering Donal O’Sullivan and Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Professor Clive Williams. 

TCD will observe how households use the electric vehicles in terms of travel patterns, recharging and the resulting environmental impacts. Further project goals will be to provide policy guidance to the state, estimate the potential market penetration of electric vehicles, find solutions to implementation problems, manage environmental impact research questions and examine commercialisation issues for electric vehicles.

Commenting on the significance of the research programme, Professor O’Mahony said: “We are delighted to be involved in this trial which will evaluate the potential of the role of electric vehicles in addressing key energy and environmental solutions for society.”

As part of the trial, the all-electric, zero emission Mitsubishi i-MiEVs will be used throughout Ireland to support the planning and implementation of the ESB nationwide charging infrastructure. The customer behaviour and attitudes research to be undertaken by Trinity College Dublin will be crucially important in understanding how customers want to use their EVs. The parties intend to make the vehicles available to a wide range of users – both residential and pilot corporate customers – and to promote EVs in light of the recently announced enhanced Government incentives. The Government has set a target of 10% for all vehicles on Irish roads to be electric by 2020.

A “Smart Home Charging” system will be trialled which will allow the cars maximise the amount of energy they get from renewable sources, while also facilitating the operation of the electricity system. This is a key requirement for a successful transition to carbon neutral sustainable travel and ESB have committed to installing 1,500 publicly accessible charging stations, 2,000 domestic charging points and 30 fast charging units on a nationwide basis throughout Ireland by the end of 2011.

 ESB’s Chief Executive, Padraig McManus said: “Ireland is at the forefront of adopting electric vehicles, and ESB is pressing ahead with its charging points programme. As a major force in the global market, Mitsubishi Motors’ endorsement of Ireland as an environment for EVs is extremely encouraging. The pilot project will provide ESB with a more in-depth knowledge of how the technology and its integration into the electricity network will work.”

Viewing Ireland as an ideal market for electric vehicles in Europe, Mitsubishi Motors has made available the all electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in advance of the European launch in October 2010.  The vehicle has been an enormous success since its introduction in Japan in July 2009.

Speaking at the event, the President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe, Akinori Nakanishi said:

“The i-MiEV is one of the first consumer electric vehicles to be launched in Europe and is set to revolutionise the way we think about cars. It is the pinnacle of Mitsubishi Motors’ environmental technology and a symbol of our commitment to reducing our impact on the planet. We see Ireland as a very important market for electric vehicles and are delighted to be announcing this MOU with the Irish Government and ESB”

Tomoo Yoshikawa, President & CEO of MC Automobile Europe said:

“The test programme announced today will provide important feedback as we plan for the European version launch of the i-MiEV in October 2010, when the cars will be available to Irish consumers.”

Commenting on iMiEV testing in Ireland, Billy Riordan, Group Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors Ireland said:

“Ireland is the perfect test environment for electric vehicles. We are traditionally a small car market, have ample renewable energy resources as well as an environmentally conscious and responsible consumer. With sufficient focus and investment, Ireland can be a world leader in the introduction of electric vehicles. With the commercial launch of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV later this year, we are hoping to lead the charge in this exciting new driving experience for Irish motorists.”