Ireland will need to embrace the electric car in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from road vehicles.

According to environmentalists the electric car is the future for motoring.  Running on electricity this car reaches a top speed of sixty miles per hour, with a range of about forty miles.  Emitting no noise, its battery can be recharged on off peak electricity overnight.  

The electric car could also suit the type of stop-start driving which plagues motorists driving in city traffic. But is the electric car a good investment?  Yes, according to Quentin Gargan from Earthwatch, 

If electric cars were mass produced, they wouldn’t be significantly more expensive than conventional petrol cars.

It is estimated that by 2010, approximately 40 percent of Ireland’s carbon dioxide emissions will come from the roads.  Currently there are four to five million Europeans suffering from respiratory problems like asthma, caused directly by traffic pollution.  It is believed that air quality in Dublin will fail to meet EU standards if current traffic trends continue.  

Earthwatch’s Sadhbh O’Neill says that car manufacturers are holding back electric car production for political reasons, 

There’s no doubt that the technology is there, and all of the major manufacturers do have prototype electric and hybrid vehicles available.  However, none of them are releasing those vehicles onto the Irish market, and this is because we have no financial incentives in place here, unlike the UK. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 June 1998.  The reporter is Tony Connelly.