1,000 extra charge points to be added in next five years

Minister Richard Bruton announced on Monday funding to support the rollout by local authorities of up to 1,000 on-street public charge points for electric vehicles over the next five years. His Department claims that this new scheme will support the widespread roll out of electric vehicles.

The Climate Action Plan, launched by Minister Bruton earlier this year, commits to a target of 936,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030. In my opinion, and that of many expert auto industry analysts, that figure is much too ambitious and noway achievable. Improving the infrastructure is crucial, and it will help with range anxiety, but it will not deliver the 2030 target. Why should the industry lower prices and margins so prices of EV’s will remain high in the short to medium-term because of a basic law of economics – demand exceed supply. The industry does not have the ability to produce EV’s to meet growing demand.

Today’s announcement will build on the 90 new high speed chargers (which charge at three times the power of fast chargers), 50 new fast chargers and over 500 upgraded charge points which will be supported under the Climate Action Fund. This will ensure that we build a network of circa 2,000 reliable public charge points nationwide by 2025, which will be enough to support a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road. In addition, we will introduce new regulations to require non-domestic buildings with over 20 car parking spaces to install charging facilities.

Local Authorities, who are responsible for the provision of an extensive range of services in their own administrative areas, are ideally placed to identify the most suitable locations for installing these new charge points.

Increasing the number of on-street charge points will allow those who do not have a driveway access to a charge point. This will certainly remove a key barrier for some to the uptake of electric vehicles. Charge points may be located where public parking is provided on-street or in Local Authority car parks. In many cases, on-street charge points may be integrated with street lighting in a single lamppost.

This support will complement the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant, which is a grant of up to €600 that is currently available to purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of chargers in homes with dedicated parking spaces.

The Department says that it is currently examining options to expand the scheme to support the installation of chargers in residential buildings with private shared parking (e.g. apartments) and expects to have a support in place early in 2020.