A CLONAKILTY entrepreneur aims to revive car manufacturing in Ireland by investing €50m over the next three years in developing a range of high-performance electric cars.
Norman Crowley, founder and head of Crowley Carbon, has set up a new company, Electrifi, that will develop a range of high-performance electric cars in Wicklow, becoming the first company to manufacture cars in this country in almost 40 years.
Manufacturing has already begun in the Electrifi’s sister plant in Wales and the first cars will leave the Irish plant by the end of the year.
‘The global market opportunity in electric vehicles is predicted to top over bn between now and 2025. This potential for transformative changes creates huge opportunities for both new and existing players in the automotive sector. I believe a revived car manufacturing industry here could easily employ more than 30,000 people and has the potential to generate annual revenues of over €10bn for the Irish economy,’ said Norman.
‘Ireland is a knowledge-based economy and with our strong young talent pool, high educations standards and reputation for ease of doing business, we are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the shift from polluting petrol cars to sophisticates digital vehicles.’
Electrifi will initially take some of the world’s most iconic classic cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, and modify them into electric vehicles with Formula 1-style performance. The cars will be rebuilt and optimised with the latest technology and powered by Tesla batteries and motors. The company is currently designing a new range of classic cars that will be fully electrified and unveiled in early 2020.
Car prices will initially start at €750,000 for the higher end models, but in time the cars will ultimately be available at entry level, starting at €30,000. Electrifi has already sold out its delivery capacity for its high model range for the next 18 months. The cars will be shipped to the UK, Middle East and the US.
However, visitors to the company’s Powerscourt Estate HQ will be able to view the cars up close being hand built and tested from later this year.
Norman set up Crowley Carbon – his fourth business – in 2009 to work with optimising large production plants and commercial building to reduce their energy consumption and costs.
He also established a not-for-profit foundation called the Cool Planet Experience in 2015, to challenge and educate thinking for children and families in a fun and interactive way, which is located on the Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow.