Electric car goes the distance in Ireland’s Cannonball Run

12 Sep 2011

Photo: The Nissan LEAF holds its own against super cars during the three-day Cannonball 2011 tour of Ireland this past weekend

The Nissan LEAF, the first electric car to ever enter a Cannonball Run anywhere on the globe, has successfully completed a 900km tour of Ireland’s roads this past weekend, showing how it can hold its own against a slew of supercar heavy hitters such as the Porsche Cayman, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, as well as glamorous Bentley and Aston Martin models.

While Ireland braced itself for the tail of Hurricane Katia to unleash heavy winds on the island in the early hours of this morning, a different type of thunderous roar could be heard as the 150 supercars weaved through winding Irish country roads and motorways yesterday evening before they neared the completion of the 2011 Cannonball Run in Kilkenny City.

The three-day tour saw cars traversing 14 counties, all in aid of Barretstown Camp in Co Kildare.

One car glistened above the rest, however, as it was the all-electric Nissan LEAF, which completed the 900km trek noiselessly and by charging its battery up in different locations along the route.

ESB ecars has hailed the electric drive a success, saying the three-day tour demonstrates that driving an electric car around Ireland is possible by using the charging infrastructure already in place.

Dodge Charger Dukes of Hazard
The 1969 Dodge Charger two-door coupé (Muscle Car) from Chrysler Corp, the General Lee from ‘Dukes of Hazzard’. The Dodge Charger was one of the supercars involved in the CannonBall Run in Ireland from 9–11 September 2011

Dukes of Hazzard car

Some other quirky cars that revved up for Cannonball 2011 included the SLR McLaren 722, an NYPD police car, German Autobahn Polizei and the Dodge Charger – General Lee’s car from Dukes of Hazzard.

ESB ecars, a sponsor of the event, powered the Nissan LEAF car by plugging into charge points along the route in places such as Monasterevin, Kilkenny, Dungarvan, Galway, Limerick and Athlone. Overnight charging took place in Cork and Westport.

The Cannonball Run, in aid of Barretstown, has raised more that €235,000 over the past two years to help rebuild the lives of children with cancer.

More than 150 supercars took part and an estimated 100,000 spectators lined the streets.

Nissan LEAF crosses the line in Kilkenny City for Cannonball Run

The ESB ecars Nissan LEAF team celebrate after crossing the finishing line in Kilkenny City yesterday evening, having completed Cannonball 2011

E-car charge points across Ireland

Yesterday, ESB ecars and Topaz also launched a fast and standard charge point in Topaz Athlone as part of the ESB nationwide infrastructure rollout.

The Nissan LEAF stopped in Topaz Athlone to fast charge for the final time before reaching the finish line in Kilkenny. ESB says Athlone is a pivotal location for fast charging as it enables electric car motorists to travel east-west and north-south. Cannonball supercars were also on display at the event.

“We are delighted to have been involved in this action-packed three-day event to raise funds and awareness for Barretstown. There was overwhelming support from the general public for this worthy cause and indeed for the electric car as it travelled around the country. We are thrilled to have successfully completed the Cannonball Run and have the opportunity to showcase the full scope of the electric car on Irish roads,” said Paul Mulvaney, managing director, ESB ecars.

ESB ecars Cannonball Run 2011 

Video: ESB ecars Cannonball run from ESB ecars YouTube Channel

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic