Eir and EasyGo to convert 180 phone boxes into EV charging points

7 Dec 2020

From left: Eir CEO Carolan Lennon and EasyGo director Gerry Cash. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennel Photography

DC rapid charging units for EVs will be installed at 180 Eir phone boxes across the country to help drivers overcome so-called ‘range anxiety’.

With hundreds of phone boxes lying largely idle across Ireland in 2020, electric vehicle (EV) charging network provider EasyGo has announced plans to convert many of them into new charging points. Working in partnership with Eir, 180 of these kiosks will become DC rapid chargers for EVs.

Provided by Australian company Tritium, the units will charge EVs faster than common AC chargers, adding 100km of range to a vehicle in less than 30 minutes. According to EasyGo director Gerry Cash, the converted phone boxes will create greater access to charging points and help alleviate drivers’ concerns over so-called ‘range anxiety’ with EVs.

“100km of charge would cost less than €5,” he told RTÉ. “The important thing for EV driving is that people can charge at home at the night rate, but they have the comfort of knowing that they can charge when they’re out and about and return and not have that range anxiety.

“If you live rurally, you’re not going to jump on a Luas or get on a bus at the bottom of the road. That’s why it’s important that, if we’re going to transition for petrol or diesel to electric, you’re going to have to be able to charge cars in rural locations.”

A ‘viable alternative’

Eir – which operates the vast majority of phone boxes located across the country – welcomed the initiative. The company’s CEO, Carolan Lennon, said replacing its “little-used legacy infrastructure” with charging points will make EVs a “viable alternative for thousands of people across the country”.

She added that the initiative is “further driving forward the decarbonisation of Ireland and helping to meet our climate targets”.

The new DC charging units will join EasyGo’s existing national network of 1,200 charging units, which are used by more than 7,000 Irish EV drivers. The locations of the first converted charging points will be announced after consultation with local authorities.

Research published in March this year found that there was a 53pc year-on-year increase in the number of EVs owned in Ireland. However, the report from Cornwall Insight warned that despite this increased uptake, Ireland is nowhere near achieving the 2030 target of having 950,000 EVs on Irish roads.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic