Electric car 'juice points' go live in the capital

 

THE COUNTRY’S first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations or “juice points” went live in Dublin yesterday. The four kerbside charging posts are the first of 1,500 due to be installed across the State under the Government’s ambitious plan to electrify motor transport in Ireland.

The charge points are located at parking spaces in the city centre: two at the ESB headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street, one at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on Adelaide Road and another at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland on Wilton Place.

By the end of June, a further 12 will be installed at locations in Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Portlaoise, the ESB said yesterday.

The utility company plans to build 3,500 charge points by the end of 2011 – a total of 2,000 domestic units and a further 1,500 on-street units.

There are currently only about 30 privately-owned non-commercial EVs on Irish roads but the Government’s target is to have 2,000 by the end of 2011 and 6,000 by the end of 2012.

The ESB has the largest commercial fleet of 15 electric vehicles but it plans to extend this to 60 by the end of this year.

To use the charge points, motorists have to register at www.esb.ie/ecars to acquire a personalised electric fob which will allow them access the on-street plug point.

It takes about two hours to recharge most EVs up to 80 per cent, and between six and eight hours for a full recharge which will allow the cars go for up to 160kms.

However, the ESB plans to install 30 fast chargers along major urban routes, at 60km intervals, by the end of next year, which can recharge EVs in 20 minutes.

The recharging will be free for the initial phase of the roll-out.

Electric cars are significantly cheaper to operate than their fossil-fuel counterparts, costing an estimated three cent a mile to operate compared to 15 cent for a conventional vehicle.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles have yet to arrive in Ireland but Toyota’s plug-in Prius is due to go on sale here later in the year.

Paul Mulvaney, managing director of ESB e-cars, said Ireland was an “ideal test bed” for electric cars as there was a single network company, which made a co-ordinated roll-out of the infrastructure easier. Because of the shorter distances between urban centres, Ireland was also in a better position to adopt the technology en masse than other jurisdictions where authorities had limited the technology to certain cities.

At the launch, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan said: “Ireland will be among the first in the world with this kind of nationwide infrastructure. It’s bold, ambitious and will show Ireland as a global leader in the green economy.