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Northern Ireland bids for electric car infrastructure

By Linda Stewart

Published 13/10/2010

Green electric cars could be invading our roads in the next couple of years if Northern Ireland is successful with its bid to install electric car charging points.

Transport minister Conor Murphy has announced that DRD and the DOE would be making a bid for electric car infrastructure funding under the Plugged In Places competition, which is run by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles in London.

Northern Ireland’s bid has already passed the first stage selection and a full submission for funding has to be made by October 29. Successful bids will be announced next January.

If successful, the bid will be matched by funding from a local consortium, which includes district councils, the motor industry and the IT and energy sectors — resulting in a pilot scheme of |£1-3m which will fund the installation of recharging points on streets and in council, work, retail and leisure facility car parks.

Charging points would be installed across Belfast, along the north-south corridor and at shopping centres, according to DRD head of transport policy Celia Chambers.

“The main place where people will charge their car will be at home, but people won’t want to run out of charge. We’re building public infrastructure so that people can charge at places like Sprucefield or the Buttercrane Centre where there is a high footfall. They’ll park for a while, go in and do the shopping and when they come back the car is charged,” Ms Chambers said.

“I think they have a broad appeal. In Northern Ireland people are very reliant on cars but the majority of people don’t drive great distances — these cars have a range of about 100 miles.”

Conor Murphy said the bid represents an exciting opportunity to kickstart the use of electric vehicles here. “Electric vehicles can help provide cleaner air, reduce emissions and could play an important part in the battle against climate change,” he added.

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