Northern Ireland ramps up its e-car programme

30 Mar 2012

(From left) Leah O'Dwyer, business development manager for electric vehicle infrastructure, Siemens; Paul Lynam, CEO, Siemens Ireland; and Phil Skipper, director of business development for electro-mobility in Siemens North West Europe

Northern Ireland has launched its e-car project and started to invest in its electric vehicle network, with the installation of 41 charge points across the region, and a 100 further charge points in the pipeline.

The Department of Regional Development and the Department of the Environment launched Northern Ireland’s e-car project yesterday.

The e-car project itself is part of the UK-wide scheme called Plugged in Places (PIP), which provides government funding to regions that want to bring charging points to their areas.

Siemens supplied and installed the first 41 charge points in partnership with MCC Energy for phase one of the project. More than 100 further charge points are planned for phase two.

The charge points are dispersed in Belfast, Larne, Derry, Newry, Armagh and Enniskillen.

Nidirect said that special rapid chargers will also be introduced close to major roads that can charge a vehicle to 80pc of its capacity in just 25 minutes. Charge points in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are fully compatible, according to the agency.

Joe O’Mahony, managing director at Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), spoke about the importance of embracing electric-vehicle technologies.

“We believe it is important to invest in the future of our network and this includes integrating new technologies, such as electric vehicles. This project is an innovative first for Northern Ireland and we are delighted to be part of it,” he said.

He said NIE’s role would be to ‘plug in’ all the vehicle charging posts across Northern Ireland.

He said teams have been installing and connecting the first 41 posts over the past two months, and that the programme will now ramp up, extending out to March 2013.

“The e-car project shows that Northern Ireland is at the forefront in tackling issues such as sustainable transport and the green economy,” said Paul Lynam, CEO, Siemens Ireland.

The charge point, the Siemens CP500A, uses three phase-AC voltage at a current of 32 amps and charges at 22 kilowatts power. It has two sockets, so two cars can charge at any one time.

According to Siemens, the charge points support high power three phase 400 V AC charging up to 22kW for vehicles such as Renault Fluence, Zoe and Kangoo.

Siemens said the stations could also charge single-phase vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Vauxhall Ampera, Toyota Prius, BMW i3, Mitsubishi and PSA cars.

Siemens Traffic Solutions, based in Belfast, has been contracted to perform maintenance and service for the charge points for four years.

You can view where the current charge points are located here.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic