Letterkenny woman Nuala Carr is a Cool Planet Champion for Donegal. And with that role, she is sharing tips on how we all can take action to help the environment.
This week we’re taking a look at making the climate-conscious switch to Electric Vehicles (EV). According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry there are 10 electric cars on the road in Donegal. But should we all be heading in this direction? Nuala Carr shares the benefits of making the switch:
Transport accounts for one third of Ireland’s energy requirements, (the other two thirds are electricity generation and heat production), making transport one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Petrol and diesel cars also contribute to harmful air pollution, in the form of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter, all of which contribute to premature deaths.
In 2015, the number of premature deaths in Ireland due to air pollution was 1,100, that’s 3 premature deaths every day*.
Some sceptics refer to the fact that electric vehicles are not ‘zero emissions’. This is true, EVs do have emissions. However, they have zero exhaust or tailpipe emissions, which removes the emissions from the air, saving pedestrians and cyclists from breathing in these dangerous emissions.
Comparing emissions per kilometre, driving an EV emits over 50% less CO2 per kilometre than petrol or diesel cars, and this figure includes the emissions from the fossil-fuelled power stations generating the electricity to charge the EVs (EV CO2 60g/km compared to petrol engine CO2 130g/km, source www.seai.ie).
When Ireland transforms the electricity generating system to 100% renewable energy technologies, and EVs are charged fully by renewable energy technologies, EV emissions will be negligible.
Making the change to an electric vehicle has many benefits:
EVs are better for the environment, they improve health and well-being, they are cheaper in terms of fuel costs and motor tax (electricity from public charging points is currently free and motor tax is currently €120 per annum) and with grants available from SEAI, savings of up to €10,000 can be made off the cost of a new EV.
There are currently 1,100 public charging points in Ireland, locations of which can be found on the ecar charge point map (https://www.esb.ie/our-businesses/ecars/charge-point-map), the ‘ecar connect’ app can also be downloaded to apple and android devices. Plans to grow the public charging network are in the pipeline.
Treat yourself! You are worth it and so is the environment!
*(Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2018, Table 10.1)
Nuala Carr has many years of experience in industry as an environmental consultant, having trained as an ecologist in the University of Ulster, Coleraine. She has worked as a project manager for engineering companies, managing the environmental impact assessment and planning stages for infrastructure projects, such as onshore wind farm developments.
Nuala is now carrying out research on the social acceptance of marine renewable energy through Queen’s University Belfast.Tags: