A unique campaign to encourage the uptake of electric cars was launched today in Cork by Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence Simon Coveney, T.D. The Drive4Zero initiative, which is being piloted in Cork, provides a range of incentives for companies and individuals choosing to drive electric vehicles (EVs) and is expected to double the number of ecars in the Region within 6 months.
“By bringing together all the relevant parties, we have been able to create a really special initiative that promotes electric car adoption and the significant benefits thereof. Drive4Zero provides compelling reasons to drive an ecar, by offering zero fuel costs, zero parking charges, zero tolls, zero percent finance as well as zero emissions of course,” said Minister Coveney at the launch of Drive4Zero at City Hall Cork.
“This is an ambitious project, but one that can yield enormous returns for our environment and energy management while delivering real cost efficiencies and benefits for ecar drivers,” the Minister added.
Car manufacturers supporting Drive4Zero include Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Motors and BMW, and these brands are providing more than 75 e-cars to the Cork pilot, to facilitate company e-car trialing and extended test drives for the Cork region. A number of multinationals have already subscribed to the Drive4Zero initiative and are availing of the free charging points provided by ESB as part of the drive. With up to 2,000 free charging units to distribute as part of Drive4Zero, ESB expects to double the number of charge points available in Cork in the coming months as a direct result of the Drive4Zero campaign.
As well as the car manufacturers and the ESB, the Drive4Zero collaboration includes the SEAI, which provides €5,000 in grant aid towards the purchase of an EV, and the SFI Research Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) is also a key player in the delivery of the initiative.
The Drive4Zero campaign has also negotiated excellent finance rates with banking partners and finance houses, to deliver zero percent finance or zero deposit on electric car purchases through Drive4Zero. The cost of an ecar has been reduced to just €99 per week, and with reduced VRT and tax and zero fuel and parking charges, this is a very compelling offer.
Q-Park is providing free parking and charging to e-car drivers in all its Cork locations for the Drive4Zero pilot, while the Fermoy Bypass Toll providers, Direct Route (Fermoy) have waived toll charges for EVs as part of their commitment to the Drive4Zero initiative.
Regional stakeholders such as Energy Cork, Cork Chamber and Cork City Council, Cork County Council are also active Drive4Zero partners. Cork City Council have provided 50 free car spaces with charging facilities for EV drivers in their public car parks and Park n Ride facility at Black Ash.