John Sweeney, head of Innovation at the ESB, with Lorraine Flanagan, Mullingar, who is a new ecar ambassador for the Great Electric Drive.

Green-Schools travel officer signs up for an for ESB ecar

Someone whose job title includes the words ‘sustainable travel officer’ had to be a shoe-in as an ambassador for the ESB Great Electric Drive.

It wasn’t a done deal when Lorraine Flanagan applied though, as she had to compete with 20,000 other applicants, but the Mullingar woman was selected as one of 32 ambassadors and she’s looking forward to having her turn for four months from September.

Lorraine’s car is one of nine that the ambassadors will drive during the trial this year and next, and the ESB says she will save €200 per month on motoring running costs, as well as contributing to a CO2 reduction of 15 tonnes.

Originally from the north west, Lorraine lives in Mullingar and is an environmental scientist. She works for An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit as a Green-Schools sustainable travel officer and enjoys promoting the benefits of green travel.

Lorraine has a passion for photography, marketing and social media, and is looking forward to letting everyone know how her ecar trial goes as she travels throughout the midlands, into the hills and from coast to coast (“Be sure to say hello if you see me along the way!” she says.)

The ESB’s target is to cover 150,000km of electric driving and make combined savings of €20,000, and Lorraine is thinking about driving her Zoe to Brussels to visit where she used to live, a journey that will take considerable planning given the limitations of an electric car.

The ESB announced the 32 new ecar ambassadors (26 members of the public and six commercial organisations) in Dublin last month, and at the event, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said: “The electrification of transport is a key component of Ireland’s emissions reduction strategy and reducing our dependency on imported fuels. I am delighted Ireland continues to lead the way in this area and welcome the strong response to ESB’s Great Electric Drive from the public.”

During the Great Electric Drive, the ambassadors will drive a range of electric vehicles and get first-hand experience of the benefits of electric driving. The vehicles include the BMW i3, Citroën C-Zero, Mitsubishi iMiev, Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid, Nissan Euro LEAF and Nissan e-NV200 commercial van, Renault ZOE the Renault Twizy and the Renault Kangoo ZE commercial van.

The participants have a wide variety of commuting patterns and daily routines and will share their experiences on the ESB ecars blog throughout their trials.

The six organisations selected are: Inland Fisheries Ireland; Parcel Zone (Dublin); Verve, the Live Agency; the Spelt Bakery (Kilkenny); Cork City Fire Brigade; and Mercury Engineering. All will drive an electric commercial vehicle during the trial.

Each ecar ambassador will have a charge point installed in their home or workplace and will be able to access a nationwide network of public charge points. This includes the installation of fast chargers along the main inter-urban routes, which is being co-funded by the EU TEN-T programme. Cross border compatibility will allow electric vehicle drivers to access the public charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland.;;;