Ireland plays host to international electric vehicle summit today

11 Jul 2012

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, TD (left), and Pat O'Doherty, ESB chief executive

Electric vehicle experts from Europe, China and the US are in Dublin today for an international electric vehicle summit and it’s just been revealed that Ireland is to be the first country to trial an electric vehicle IT platform that will facilitate international roaming and seamless charging across Europe.

Today’s conference, called Fully Charged, has been organised by ESB ecars on behalf of the Green eMotion EU project, the €42m EU project that’s aiming to develop a  user-friendly framework to enable electromobility in Europe.

According to ESB, more than 260 delegates from 19 countries are attending Fully Charged, which is a satellite event of the Euroscience Open Forum that kicks off in Dublin City this evening.

Opening Fully Charged this morning, Ireland’s Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte, TD, announced Ireland is to be the first country to trial an electric vehicle IT platform that will allow for international roaming and seamless charging across Europe, much like when you use your mobile phone abroad.

As one of the 10 demonstration regions within Green eMotion, ESB said Ireland has been selected as the first test region because of its advanced charge point network which already covers 82pc of the country’s main towns and cities.  

As for the The Green eMotion project, it is being led by Dr Heike Barlag of Siemens. The aim of Green eMotion is on achieving mass market adoption of electric vehicles through the development of standards, policies and interoperable systems so motorists can charge such vehicles anytime and anywhere in Europe.

Pat O’Doherty, ESB chief executive, said this morning that the electric vehicles bring the automotive and electricity worlds together. He said the conference has representatives from all the major players who are collaborating on the solutions required to build this new industry.  

Global predictions on electric vehicles

In terms of global predictions for electric vehicle volumes, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants estimates that China will become the largest market for electric vehicles/plug-in hybrids by 2020, with volumes of 13m units. Meanwhile, it estimates volumes for Europe and the US to reach 9.6m and 4.1m respectively by 2020.

As well as this, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has called for electric and plug-in hybrids to reach 50pc of global sales by 2040 in its latest Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 Report.

Giving the keynote address at Fully Charged this morning, Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA, spoke about the need for battery cost reductions, infrastructure and supporting policies to achieve these targets.

She also spoke about the potential future role of electric vehicles as part of a ‘smart grid’ electricity system.

At today’s event, five Irish companies will be showcasing electric vehicles products and services that have been trialled in Ireland in conjunction with ESB ecars.

These include the Dublin-based M2C. It has developed a smart home charge point that operates as part of a home energy management system so people can charge their cars when electricity is at its cheapest or when renewables are deployed on the electricity grid.

JTM from Wicklow has developed mobile chargers for electric vehicles for use with rescue fleets.

Electric cars that will be on show during today’s event include the Volvo C30 and the Renault Twizy. There’s also the Volkswagen Golf, which is set to enter the Irish market at the end of 2013.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic