EasyGo/Eir deal the vital first step in persuading motorists to go green

Practical implementation, not more policy papers, key to mass transition to e-vehicles

There's a certain symmetry in turning the technology infrastructure of the past to serve the needs of the technology of the future. So it will be as Eir and a car charger installation company called EasyGo team up to replace 180 public phone booths across the State with rapid charging points for electric vehicles.

It is a much-needed first step in providing the sort of national network required to persuade most motorists to buy into the green revolution in a very practical way by ditching their fossil fuel motors.

Figures last week show the need for such initiatives, with air quality data for two Dublin suburbs showing levels of traffic pollution up to 15 times what are considered the upper safe limit by the World Health Organisation.

Critically, the EasyGo/Eir deal involves rapid chargers – able to recharge car batteries substantially in just half an hour.


Rapid chargers

As EasyGo co-founder Chris Kelly said: "Being able to find a charger, and knowing that it's there, and that you can turn it on: that's very, very important. You don't want to be queuing. You want to be able to use it at your convenience."

He acknowledged that the €10 million investment is just a start, saying Ireland needs to have multiple chargers in very town and village across the State.

Kelly forecasts that at least 200 rapid chargers a year will need to be put in place every year for the next decade to meet demand. And he noted that, at present, there are more fast chargers being installed in Britain in 30 days that currently exist in Ireland, in the North and South.

Other estimates are higher – up to 28,000 according to environmental think tank Transport & Environment – to meet expected demand by 2030.

Whatever the figure, only when motorists are confident they can travel without the risk of being stranded will electric vehicles find themselves fully accepted nationally in the consumer market. Practical implementation, not more policy papers, is the key.