One of Drive4zero roles is to inform and educate people about electric cars. Below are a number of frequently asked questions that we have received. If you have any other questions you would like answered, please email us at

1. What is Drive4Zero?

Drive4Zero is an exciting new initiative to promote electric vehicles in Ireland.  There has never been a better time to consider driving an electric car – the technology, infrastructure, incentives and value all combine to make driving an electric vehicle (EV) a compelling proposition.

To learn more about how to avail of
–       Zero fuel costs
–       Zero emissions
–       Zero parking charges
–       Zero deposit finance
and more, visit

2. Who is behind the Drive4Zero initiative?

A number of people, organisations, companies and groups have come together to create a really great offering for Drive4Zero.  From e-car manufacturers to the banks, from local authorities, Universities and government agencies including the SEAI, from employers, the Chambers of Commerce and Q-Park among others, a very significant collaboration of relevant parties are working together to give companies and individuals a truly great offering to encourage electric motoring.

This initiative is being led by Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney TD who became involved in the electric car conversation a number of years ago when he wrote a paper entitled “Drive for Zero”.  Convinced that electric vehicles provided a great alternative to petrol and diesel fueled vehicles, in terms of energy management and environmental benefits, Minister Coveney began working on the collaborative approach, which essentially formed the Drive4Zero campaign, a number of months ago.

The initiative will launch in Cork on 23rd October as a pilot programme and it is hoped that Drive4Zero will be rolled out nationally in 2015.

3. Why Drive4Zero?

There are numerous advantages associated with electric cars from the major environmental benefits, to the lifestyle and convenience of charging your ecar at work or at home.  There is a clearly a cost benefit in driving an electric car, and the price of electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel, as well as being a renewable fuel.

But why did Drive4Zero come about?  Because together we can achieve more.  This ambitious initiative has brought together a number of key stakeholders from companies to authorities, parking companies to utilities and car manufacturers.  Together we can achieve real change in Ireland, and the pilot in Cork, launched on 23rd October, is just the beginning.

4. How does it work?

The Drive4Zero initiative encourages companies and individuals to consider electric vehicles as a real and cost effective alternative to petrol or diesel cars.

The campaign delivers zero parking costs due to free electric vehicle parking up to the end of 2015 (in negotiated sites) as well as zero fuel costs as companies participating in the Drive4Zero initiative have or are in the process of installing work based charge points for their employees use while at work.

Drive4Zero have also negotiated preferential finance package with our partner car manufacturers to ensure you pay the lowest ever cost for an electric vehicle in Ireland.

There are also Drive4Zero incentives offered by ESB eCars who will waive the charge points costs to the first 2000 buyers of electric cars (with only installation costs to be covered by company).

SEAI also provide a significant financial contribution of €5,000 to the car buyer on purchase of an electric vehicle. SEAI have also committed to providing energy efficient driver training at all participating companies at no cost to them or their employees!

5. What are the benefits of an electric car?

  • Substantially lower running costs Excellent driving performance
  • Lowest motor tax band
  • €5000 government grant
  • No VRT
  • Free home charge point for the first 2000 first time registered electric vehicles in Ireland who qualify for the SEAI Grant.
  • Lifestyle convenience of charging your electric car at home overnight
  • Access to a nationwide network of charge points
  • Major environmental benefits

6. What is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)?

PHEV is a hybrid vehicle driven primarily by electric motors with the back-up of a petrol engine. The drive battery can be recharged by the engine to enable continuous electric motor driving (no EV range anxiety!), or it can be recharged by a home or public electric charging point.

7. Where can I charge my electric car?

There are a number of Drive4Zero charging options: home charging, public charging, workplace charging or fast charging.   Drive4Zero has worked to create a number of Zero cost charging options:

For Drive4Zero, 2,000 purchasers of a newly registered electric car and qualifying for the SEAI Grant, will get a free home charge point so that your electric car can be charged from your domestic electricity supply.

Working with ESB eCars, Drive4Zero is encouraging and enabling work places to install company charge points, enabling employees to have zero fuel costs (based on site applicability survey and company commitment to the campaign). Companies already involved are listed on our partners page and we expect this number to grow rapidly in the coming months.

Drive4Zero has worked with Q-Park, who are rolling out charge points in all their Cork parking sites and in the coming months, further Q-Parks are expected to follow suit.  The Cork City Council has provided 50 free electric parking spaces for Drive4Zero, and it is possible to charge your ecar at the Park n’Ride at Black Ash also.

There will be 1,500 public charge points available nationwide in locations such as on-street, shopping centres, car parks etc. Every town with 1,500 inhabitants or more will get a charge point installed in that area. Fast charge points located along main inter-urban routes at service stations and roadside cafés to cater for those on longer journeys. You can view the installed and planned charge points nationwide on the electric car charge point map.

8. Where is the next closest charge point?

Most people will charge their electric car at home at night at the cheaper night rate electricity. When you’re out and about, public charging, free parking charging and fast charging points are available. To view the electric car charge point locations see our charge point map.

9. How long does it take to charge an electric car?

There are 3 types of charging options:

  • Fast charging takes as little as 25* minutes to achieve an 80% charge
  • Home charging – 6-8* hours
  • Public charging – 2-6* hours

*Due to different types and battery sizes of electric cars, these times may vary.Discover more about electric car charging.

10. How much does it cost to charge my electric car?

A full charge at home will cost just €2-3 when availing of the cheaper night rate electricity An electric car costs just 1-2cent per km compared to 10-12cent per km for a conventional car. You can check out our
comparative cost calculator to see how much you’ll save when you go electric.

11. What’s the range of an electric car?

The range differs for each electric car. The Nissan LEAF has a range of 199km, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV has a range of 150km, while the Tesla Model S has a range of 420km! View the choice of choice of electric cars or choice of electric fleet vehicles for more information on the specifications.

12. Does an electric car cost less than a conventional car?

Because of their relative newness, electric cars have a higher purchase price than conventional cars. However, several factors push the costs down. These include a zero rate of VRT relief of up to €5,000, purchase grant for up to €5000, lower road tax, reduced maintenance costs (due to fewer moving parts), plus dramatically lower fuel costs.  Drive4Zero has negotiated with our partners to push the costs even lower.  With free charge points installed, grants and zero deposit finance as well as zero percent finance*, as well as zero fuel costs and zero parking costs, driving an electric car will provide major cost savings in the short, medium and long term.

The Total Cost of Ownership Graph shows that electric cars are more cost effective than a conventional car.

*Terms and conditions apply.
**For certain car models, the driver purchases the car and leases the battery.

13. What is the tax on an electric car?

Tax for electric cars is currently in the lowest tax bracket which is €120. This is the rate for all electric vehicles. Our comparative cost calculator will let you see how an electric car can save you even more money!

14. How fast can an electric car go?

Electric cars are capable of conventional car speed, acceleration and power. Electric supercars such as the Tesla can reach 0 – 100 km in 3.4 seconds and top speeds of 250km/h. Electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF reach 0 – 100 km in 10 seconds and can drive up to 160 km/h. View the choice of electric cars or choice of electric fleet vehicles (insert link to 2.3) for more information on the specifications.

15. How do I pay for the electricity?

Drive4Zero aims to provide incentives to electric car and vehicle drives. If your company is subscribed to Drive4Zero, you will be able to charge your ecar free of charge at your workplace.

When you charge your electric car at home, the additional electricity costs will be added to your electricity supply bill.

For publicly accessible charge points an online account is being developed which will enable electric car drivers to access public charge points. Your charge point access card will allow you to log into your account, choose your electricity supplier and prepay for your electricity. Learn more about access to charging and the payment process.

16. Can I plug my car into my regular house socket or can I use an extension cable?

No, you cannot plug your car into a regular house or outdoor socket or use extension cables as this may be dangerous. Read more about electric car safety.

17. Can I disconnect my cable even though the car is not fully charged?

Yes you can disconnect your car at any time. Learn more about electric car safety.

18. What are the environmental benefits?

Electric cars offer a real opportunity to reduce the carbon output of the transport sector, as they emit zero exhaust pipe emissions. Most people will charge their cars at night when a higher proportion of electricity is generated from wind. The growth in the generation of electricity from renewable sources offers a route towards carbon free motoring. Read more about the environmental impact of electric cars.

19. What are the emission levels compared with a conventional car?

As more and more of Ireland’s electricity is generated from renewable energy the level of emissions associated with electric motoring will approach zero. With the current mix of fuels used to generate electricity in Ireland emissions will on average be less than half of those of a conventional internal combustion engine (70gCO2/km for an electric car versus 150gCO2/km for a conventional car). Learn more about how green electric cars are.

20. How can my company benefit from electric cars?

The move to e-mobility naturally includes commercial fleets. Current emissions of CO2 in the Irish transport sector account for approximately 13 million tonnes annually. A huge proportion of this is associated with the fleet of commercial vehicles on our roads, numbered at 400,000. Any company that runs commercial vehicles stands to gain on several levels by adopting an e-fleet strategy.

Benefits include: accelerated capital allowance scheme permitting write-off of capital investment within one year; government incentive of up to €5000 grant per vehicle and zero VRT relief of up to €5,000 ; significantly lower running and maintenance costs; reduction in company carbon footprint. Find out more about electric vehicle commercial fleets in the Enterprise section.

21. What do I do if my company is not participating in the d4z campaign?

Don’t despair. The d4z campaign is open to all members of the public in the cork region irrelevant of whether your company is participating or not. You may not however be able to avail of free charging while you work if your company has a charge point as this has been negotiated with all d4z participants only.

22. Can I trial the d4z cars if my company is not participating?

D4z has negotiated the use of a large number of trial cars for participating companies, which you will not be able to drive. You will however be able to contact the dealer specific cork based test centres to arrange the trial of an eCar of your choice to help win you over to the electric car revolution.

Click Here to book your eCar test drive direct with your nearest dealer!

23. I want to buy one of the eCar models not listed on the d4z website

No problem, but you’ll have to contact the dealer directly to arrange a test drive and to negotiate Terms as only the cars listed on the website are subject to the offers. You can however avail of free Charing at work if your company is participating and free parking in the city with an eCar.

24. Can I avail of Free Toll use with my E.V. ?

Drive4Zero Zero Tolls 

In recognition of the contribution that electric vehicles can make to sustainable transport, Minister Paschal Donohoe TD,  Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, is making arrangements to have available, on a pilot basis, a prepaid 20 trip Toll Card to 100 owners of electric cars In support of the Drive4Zero electric vehicle initiative in Cork

This Zero Tolls pilot programme is being facilitated by Drive4Zero initiative stakeholders and supporters including;

  • Direct Route (Fermoy)
  • NRA
  • Department of Transport Tourism and Sport
  • Energy Cork


The NRA and Direct Route (Fermoy)  will facilitate a Toll Free Promotion Pilot Scheme using 100 prepaid cards with 20 free toll trips    loaded on each card.

These cards will be made available to electric car owners in Cork, one per owner via the application process below.

The cards will be valid up to 31/12/2015


Application Process

  1. EV owners may  Apply Here to request one of the D4Z toll cards
  2. The EV owner will be requested provide proof of ownership  of EV to Energy Cork
  3. Energy Cork will validate the request and once passed will forward to Direct Route
  4. Direct Route will issue a D4Z toll card to the EV owner

25. Where can I avail of free parking with my E.V. in Cork?

Q-Park , as a key stakeholder and supporter of Drive4Zero, are Kindly offering free parking and free charging of electric cars in 4 their Cork City car parks

1. Grand Parade

2. St. Finbarrs

3. Caroll’s Quay

4. City Hall

There will be 2 spaces available per site on a first come first serve basis, subject to availability.

Q-Park will validate your parking ticket on arrival in-house

There is a maximum stay of 4 hours per vehicle. Charges will apply as normal if the 4 hour limit is exceeded.