COLM Kelleher has made history by becoming Cork City’s first Lord Mayor to be chauffeured in an electric vehicle.
He collected the new mayoral car, a Mustang Mach-E — Ford’s first all-electric SUV — which was given to him by Ford Motor Company.
“I am proud to be the first lord mayor to champion the use of a fully electric vehicle, of which symbolises the council’s commitment to lead by example in tackling the issue of climate change,” Mr Kelleher said.
“We were the first local authority in the country to have our council fleet go fully electric, a number of years ago, and we have 76 council vans that are all fully electric.
“We have already seen the impact on our carbon footprint as a local authority. Not only that, but there’s the saving in relation to the fuel, because they are very economical from a cost point of view,” he told The Echo.
The Lord Mayor’s driver, Finbarr Archer, has christened the new vehicle ‘Knight Rider’ and the Lord Mayor has been assured the electric vehicle will be able to go the distance.
“I have an engagement in Dublin in the middle of January to commemorate the handing over of Dublin Castle, so we’ll be taking the Knight Rider to Dublin and the first question I asked is ‘Will it get there?’ and I have been assured it will.”
The presentation of a new vehicle to the lord mayor is tradition in Cork.
“It’s a tradition that the Ford Motor Company gifts the car to the office of the Lord Mayor. It is of no expenditure to the taxpayer whatsoever.
“The tradition was started a long time ago by the Ford Motor Company, as a mark of respect for the relationship that we had with Ford Motor Company down the docks many years ago.
“I am delighted they are still supporting the Lord Mayor’s office with the beautiful gesture,” he continued.
Traditionally, a new vehicle was presented to the Lord Mayor of Cork every year, but this changed to twice a year when the new registration plate system came into effect in 2013. This will now revert back to once a year, with the new Mustang Mach-E remaining as the mayoral vehicle until January of next year.