An unusual vehicle on the courtyard in Merrion Street in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the electric car designed by Jim Lacy and Professor John Byrne of the department of electrical engineering. The car was initially conceived as a research vehicle for Byrne's research into low-loss drive systems and Lacy's into control systems, but became a substantial project in itself, attracting support and interest from a number of companies. Extensive research was carried out into ways to minimize loss mechanisms, and the car incorporated regenerative braking.
The car was declared roadworthy, taxed and insured, and Lacy used it for his daily commute. A newspaper article pointed out that this daily 20 miles cost three pence, the equivalent of '480 miles to the gallon of petrol,' and the top speed was just over 30 miles per hour. Ultimately the vehicle was limited by the battery technology available at the time, with the heater proving a particularly heavy load on cold mornings.