£40k electric powered Audi to transport Antrim and Newtownabbey’s mayoral team

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have opted for another Audi for their new mayoral car ahead of cheaper Tesla, Jaguar and Skoda SUV options.

The current lease for the mayoral car is due to expire in March.

A report to the council’s Policy and Governance Committee recommended replacing the existing car with an Audi e-tron electric powered vehicle at a cost of £44,160 over three years for the lease cost and power in favour of a Skoda SUV and Tesla.

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The lease cost for Audi models were £41,194, electric, £42,487, hybrid and £42,149, diesel.

Audi e-tron Sportback s-line. Pic: Audi Media Centre

The preferred model was the “most economically advantageous option from the same manufacturer”, councillors were told.

A Mercedes EQS saloon with a lease cost of £60,960 for three years was ruled out.

A Jaguar SUV I Pace was priced at £32,402 for the term; a Skoda SUV Enyak was £27,942 and Tesla SUV, £30,003.

It was proposed by Glengormley Ulster Unionist Alderman Mark Cosgrove and seconded by Antrim DUP Ald John Smyth to opt for the Audi e-tron Sportback.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Billy Webb, highlighting an earlier green initiative.

An amendment, proposed by Dunsilly SDLP Cllr Ryan Wilson and seconded by Airport Sinn Fein Councillor Annemarie Logue, was that the Skoda SUV option be approved.

This was rejected following a vote after eight members in favour and 29 against.

A council spokesperson said:  “As part of its commitment to tackling climate change Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed to lease a fully electric powered car for use by the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.

“As part of the transition of the council fleet to ultra low emission vehicles, the replacement of the car is another milestone in demonstrating the council’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by 2023.”

“The electric car, similar to the current Audi model used by the mayor, will be leased under similar terms from next March.”

The council has developed a Climate Change Action Plan as part of its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Seven electric vehicle charging points have been funded by the authority. There are a total of 33 across the borough with a further 12 sites proposed.

The local authority has agreed to pilot hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO), a low-carbon fuel and is derived from specially-treated used-cooking oils in 15 vehicles in line with its Climate Change Action Plan.

Councillors have been told that this fuel can be a direct replacement for diesel but is 15 per cent more expensive and would result in an increased cost of £60,000 per annum to fuel the fleet although it can achieve up to 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb, welcomed the pilot as part of the council’s Climate Change Action Plan and Fleet Management Strategy, saying: “This is one of the first trials of its kind in Northern Ireland and further evidence of the council taking positive practical steps to reduce its impact on the environment.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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