The electric car campaign has sparked an interest locally as Carrick students received a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry.
Pupils at Carrickfergus College were able to have a closer look at one of the eco-friendly models during a visit from car dealership Wilson’s of Rathkenny.
“Wilson’s are trying to raise awareness about the benefits of electric cars and a number of pupils from years 9-11 were involved in the visit,” a spokesperson from the school said.
“A representative from Wilson’s talked the pupils through the ins and outs of the engine and how the car works. Pupils were given the chance to sit in the car itself and get a real feel for it.”
The school indicated their Science department had been ‘inundated’ with requests for test-driving one of the cars following the visit.
Earlier this year, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announced that electric car users in Northern Ireland are to benefit from a £600,000 share of a £9million UK wide investment programme.
The funding will be used to install charge points for use by the public at strategic locations in properties owned by the public sector across Northern Ireland.
Carrickfergus currently has one public electric car charge point, which is located at Victoria Street Park and Ride facility just outside the town centre.
The charge point has been used 20 times between its installation in July 2013 and December 2013, according to the Department of Regional Development.
A spokesperson for the Department said: “People must remember that the use of public charge point does not equate to the use of a petrol station; they’re there to support the infrastructure.
“Electric cars are mostly charged at home or in the user’s place of work; as the cars have a range of about 100 miles when fully charged, these public charge points are simply there for an ‘opportunity charge’ - that is, someone can use one of the points to re-charge their car in the middle of a long journey.”
Speaking in advance of a number of Driveshow events held town across Northern Ireland between February and April, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy suggested that with new models coming to market almost every month, electric cars were ‘a very real and sustainable option for drivers’.
“Drivers of electric vehicles or ecars are now never more than around ten miles from a re-charging point,” Mr Kennedy added.