Electric vehicles: Naughten calls for more fast charging points

Minister wants to see more motorway fast chargers developed for inter-urban travel

A Tesla car recharges at a charging station in North Carolina, USA. Photograph: AP/Chuck Burton

A Tesla car recharges at a charging station in North Carolina, USA. Photograph: AP/Chuck Burton

 

There are not enough fast charging points to ensure the required take up of electric vehicles in Ireland, Minister for Energy Denis Naughten has said.

Mr Naughten, who is considering ways to incentivise the take up of electric vehicles, said he was currently in talks with the ESB and others in a bid to improve the network of fast charge points.

There are currently between 3,000 and 4,000 electric vehicles registered in the State. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, published in 2014, envisages a target of 50,000 electric vehicles by 2020.

The ESB currently operates a network of 1200 charge points for electric vehicles, 300 of which are in Northern Ireland. However the vast majority of these are standard charge points. The charging time depends on the model of vehicle, but can take up to eight hours using the standard charge point network.

A fast charge point however, can charge an electric vehicle up to 80 per cent in as little as 25 minutes.

The ESB’s eCars network currently has only about 70 fast chargers in the Republic of Ireland, with 15 in Northern Ireland. Queues are frequently seen at these fast charge charge points, and there have even been incidents of charge-point rage.

Speaking to The Irish Times , Mr Naughten said a “low emissions taskforce” between his department and the Department of Transport was looking at issues such as free parking in cities or allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes.

“But what we are doing within the department in tandem with that work, we are looking at a Dublin Bikes type scheme - anything that can increase the number of people who have tried one and who are therefore considering purchasing one”.

In relation to infrastructure Mr Naughten said; “We have a good set of charging points in relation to the standard charging across the country. There are a number of issues in relation to planning and signage for access. Fast charging, no we don’t have enough of those across the country and that is something we are exploring.”

He said he had “discussions quite recently with the ESB on that. Do we need more fast charging facilities, yes we do. We are engaging with the industry on that”.

The ESB said it “fully supports the Minister’s views on the need for greater electric vehicle (EV) uptake and the necessity for a robust and extensive EV charging infrastructure”. But it said a public consultation on the future ownership of the network was currently underway with the Commission for Energy Regulation and until this process is complete the ESB was not “in a position to install any additional infrastructure”.