Ireland needs 100,000 fast charging points for electric vehicles - we currently have 1,900

Ireland Needs 100,000 Fast Charging Points For Electric Vehicles - We Currently Have 1,900
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Michael McAleer

Ireland needs 100,000 fast charging points for electric vehicles within the next eight years if the Government’s carbon emissions plan is to be met, according to a new report. Currently there are just 1,900 fast charging points in the State.

A huge investment in incentives and charging infrastructure is needed by Government if it hopes to achieve its ambition of almost one million electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads by 2030, according to the Irish motor industry.


The report by Arup and economist Jim Power, commissioned by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi), says incentives and supports are needed to help motorists trade-in older polluting cars, in conjunction with “exponentially increasing” the public charging infrastructure for EVs, which it says has fallen behind.

The European Commission aims to have 30 million EVs on the road by 2030 and estimates that three million public chargers will be needed to support them. Ireland would need 100,000 public chargers, with all new being fast chargers to serve the proposed one million EVs here by the same date, the report finds.

There are 1,900 chargers installed at 800 sites across the island of Ireland and with the current number of 47,000 EVs on Irish roads the number of charging points falls far short of the 4,700 realistically needed to serve these.

“To achieve this investment in public charging infrastructure, a broader approach is required to include policies on charging at home, as well as diversifying the distribution of fast charge points across the country to ensure charging installations support a complete and robust network across the country. There is scope to integrate private market investment into charging infrastructure to speed up the roll-out process and to off-set the capital intensity required to build a widespread charger network.”


Older vehicles

The report says that in order to deal with this older legacy fleet, help will be required for those with the least economic capacity to make the biggest change. It also warns there is an urgent need to create a second-hand electric vehicle fleet.

The age profile of the national fleet has led to the continued use of older polluting vehicles, it says, with 31.1 per cent of vehicles being pre-2011 or older.

Simi says the Government is leading the way by currently requiring all their fleets to be replaced with electric vehicles, but this could be expedited by requiring a turn over every two or three years. “Ireland, which is a right-hand drive market, has a slower and smaller supply chain than most other European markets, with around 120,000 new car sales per annum (pre-Covid-19) and an average car fleet age of nine years.

“With the majority of motorists being used vehicle buyers there is currently three times as many used vehicles being sold as new vehicles, with an insignificant second-hand electric vehicle market. The creation of this secondary market can only happen via a vibrant overall new car market.”


Government ambition

It says the ambition to sell nearly a million electric vehicles by 2030 is extremely challenging. “Supply disruptions wrought by Covid-19, Brexit and the global chip supply shortage, combined with potential rare mineral shortages keeping battery prices high, has further delayed the availability of electric vehicles.”

Analysis within the report claims that removal of all these cars and replacing them with EVs would reduce carbon emissions by 875,000 tonnes which is the equivalent of planting over 1.1 billion trees which would almost cover the entirety of Co Clare.

Brian Cooke, director general of SIMI said: “With over 2.2 million cars in the national fleet, the journey towards decarbonisation includes all vehicle owners. The Government cannot rely on new Electric Vehicles alone to achieve emission targets. While the new car market will deliver large numbers of Electric Vehicles over the next decade, we must remember that the majority of motorists buy a used car, and for them, particularly those in older cars, their EV journey will be longer.

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“We need to support all motorists to trade up to newer less polluting cars. In this context, electrifying specific fleet sectors can help in the creation of an affordable strong used EV market, removing the barriers to entry for many, and accelerate the electrification of the Irish car market.”


Co-author of the report Arup’s Terry Lee-Williams, said: “Confidence of buyers that they can charge their car when they want to will largely determine the speed of consumer adoption, so government must stimulate charger availability ahead of people buying vehicles, until the market matures.”

Economist Jim Power who co-authored the report said: “To sell 945,000 electric and low emitting vehicles by 2030, in line with Government policy is an extremely ambitious target. Ireland is a relatively small right-hand-drive economy and has a slower and smaller supply chain with around 120,000 new car sales per annum (pre-Covid-19) and an average car fleet age of nine years.

“The Industry faces numerous challenges global supply chain issues, used car supply scarcity, Brexit disruptions, rising motoring costs. For Ireland to achieve close to the 2030 target both economic and financial fundamentals need to be present. Government support is essential in creating this business environment, through EV grant subsidies, incentives and supporting infrastructure investment which will encourage consumers to take action and expedite sales.”

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