First on-street electric charge-up points unveiled.
Ireland's first on-street charging points for electric vehicles have been unveiled by the ESB.
The four kerbside charging posts are the first of 1,500 due to be installed across the country under the Government's plan to facilitate and encourage emission-free motoring.
The charge points are located at parking spaces in the city centre: two at the ESB headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street, one at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on Adelaide Road and another at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland on Wilton Place.
By the end of June, a further 12 will be installed at locations in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Portlaoise.
Over the next year and a half, 1,500 charging points will be positioned mainly in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
To use the charge points, which will be free during the initial phase of the roll-out, motorists have to register at www.esb.ie/ecars to sign-up for a personalised electric fob that will allow them access the on-street plug point.
The launch of the first four juice points is a small part of a big plan to have 10 per cent of vehicles powered by electricity in 2020.
It's an ambitious projection considering that there only about 30 privately owned non-commercial electric vehicles (EVs) are currently on Irish roads.
The Government's target is to have 2,000 by the end of 2011 and 6,000 by the end of 2012.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan described the launch of the charge point initiative as "a genuine first for Ireland".
"Just over a year ago, the government announced its intention that 10 per cent of the Irish motoring fleet will be electric by 2020," he stated.
"We have seen great progress since then. Ireland will be among the first in the world with this kind of nationwide infrastructure.
"It is bold, ambitious and will show Ireland as a global leader in the green economy."
He added: "We will continue to press ahead with our plans to reach, if not exceed, our targets and change the face of Irish motoring."
Meanwhile, supporters of electric vehicles welcomed the ESB's initiative, but called for the Government to provide grants for car batteries, ensure free parking for electric vehicles and for electric car drivers to be allowed to use bus lanes.
Electric cars are significantly cheaper to operate than their fossil-fuel counterparts, costing an estimated three cent a mile to run compared to 15 cent for a conventional vehicle.