Cannonball fever hits Ireland as electric car enters the race

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Car lovers are gearing up for the Cannonball Run in Ireland this weekend, but it will also signal the first time that an all-electric vehicle will participate in a Cannonball Run anywhere in the world as the Nissan LEAF will take to the Irish roads, powered by ESB ecars.

ESB is leading the charge during the Cannonball Run in aid of Barretstown Camp in Co Kildare, in its effort to showcase that electric mobility is possible and an option for people to make longer trips.

Cannonball will start on 9 September 2011 with more than 150 super cars.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny will drop the flag on Merrion Square at 10am on Friday, as the cars rev up to traverse through 14 counties, stopping in Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Westport and Kilkenny. The Nissan LEAF will strike a unique pose, however, as it will glide gracefully through the towns and countryside noiselessly and emitting less CO2, having been powered by clean electricity.

ESB ecars, one of the sponsors of the 1,000-km road trip, will power the Nissan LEAF by plugging into charge points along the route. ESB says it wants to demonstrate that journeys in an electric car around Ireland are possible by using the charging infrastructure that is already installed.

Over the last two years, the Cannonball sponsored by Stobart Ireland has successfully raised more than €235,000 for Barretstown to help rebuild the lives of children affected by childhood cancer. It is now largest organised road trip in Europe.

Athlone: pivotal location for fast-charging

On Sunday, 11 September, the final day of the Cannonball Run, ESB ecars will launch a fast and standard charge point in Topaz Athlone as part of the nationwide infrastructure rollout.

It says Athlone is a pivotal location for fast charging, as it will enable electric car motorists to travel east-west and north-south. Cannonball supercars will also be on display at the event.

"Cannonball, in aid of Barretstown, not only raises important funding but it also helps to promote awareness about the work they do to rebuild the lives of sick children at the specially designed activity camp in Kildare. We are delighted to support this worthy cause and offer a unique aspect to the event by driving the first-ever electric car in a Cannonball Run," said Paul Mulvaney, managing director, ESB ecars.

ESB ecars charing route during the Cannonball race

ESB charge points during the Cannonball Run this weekend

Electric car charge point route and tour stops

Friday, 9 September

  • Start line 10am, Merrion Square
  • Tour stop in Mondello, 11am
  • Fast charge: Monasterevin, Kilkenny
  • Tour stop Waterford, 2.30pm
  • Fast charge: Dungarvan
  • Tour stop Cork, 7pm
  • Overnight charge in Cork

Saturday, 10 September

  • Depart Cork and fast charge in Limerick
  • Tour stop in Bunratty, 12-2.30pm
  • Fast charge in Galway
  • Tour stop Westport, 6.30pm
  • Overnight charge in Westport

Sunday, 11 September

  • Depart Westport and fast charge in Galway
  • Launch of fast charge point in Topaz Athlone, 12pm
  • Tour stop and charge in Kinnitty, 1.30pm
  • Finish line: Kilkenny, 5pm

More on Cannonball

More than 100,000 spectators are set to line the streets around Ireland for this event.

Naas businessman Alan Bannon of AB signs founded Cannonball, and he has organised the event for the last three years.

Each stage of the event and each host town will be infused with an eclectic atmosphere featuring music, street festivals, Brazilian dancers, snake charmers and fire eaters. Along the way, Cannonball will also feature a stunt air display, a dramatic Navy ship, The Stig on water skis, medieval knights, a giant custom-built hot-air balloon and sky candles.

Watch a video here of the all-electric Mitsubishi iMiEV ESB ecar in action around the streets of Dublin earlier this year, charged by ESB:

ESB eCar – Ireland’s electric car infrastructure 

Photo: Members of the ESB ecars team powering up for this weekend’s Cannonball Run in aid of Barretstown Camp

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com