A Dublin taxi driver who has been using an all-electric Nissan Leaf car to ferry passengers around Dublin City says he has saved around €6,500 in fuel costs over the past 18 months, despite clocking up more than 55,000km.
Padraig Daly has been testing the Nissan Leaf e-taxi as part of a trial between ESB ecars and National Radio Cabs, his employer.
The trial to assess whether electric cars are suitable for the taxi industry will now be extended for another year.
According to ESB, drivers can make savings of up to 12.9 cent per kilometre by driving an electric vehicle when its battery is charged using night-rate electricity. For a distance of 55,000km, ESB said this equates to fuel savings of more than €6,500 and a net reduction in over four tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Daly said services costs for his Nissan Leaf e-taxi have been minimal over the past 18 months. He said the car has also proven to be a hit with passengers.
"Most are pleasantly surprised at how well it performs in comparison to petrol or diesel-fuelled cars, and how quiet it is," he said.
Daly charges the car at night via a charge point that has been installed at his home. If he needs to charge the car’s battery during the day, he uses an on-street charge point in Dublin.
ESB has installed more than 120 public charge points in the city, including 10 fast chargers.
Dermot McArdle, manager of ESB ecars, said the e-taxi trial will now run for another year in alliance with NRC Taxis.
"The long-term trial in a real-life environment endorses the suitability of electric vehicles as both taxis and for the general public," he said.
In Ireland, a new Leaf costs from €25,595, according to Nissan.
Back in 2010, the Government had set a target to have 10pc of cars on Irish roads be electric by 2020. So far, things have not lived up to these expectations. Last year, just 163 new electric cars were registered, according to CSO figures. Meanwhile, 591 hybrid cars were registered in 2012.
A conference on electric vehicles will be taking place at Croke Park in Dublin tomorrow. Experts in the electromobility space will be thrashing out the challenges that must be overcome before electric vehicles become more widely accepted.
Experts will also be discussing the improvements that can and are being made in electric-vehicle technologies.