ESB reveals how much EV charging will cost and when new prices will come in

23 Oct 2019397 Views

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After years of free public charging and an aborted attempt to introduce pricing, the ESB Ecars network has revealed a new pricing structure.

With only a small percentage of cars currently on the road being electric vehicles (EVs), owners of these vehicles in Ireland have been availing of ESB’s Ecars public charging network for free since its introduction 2010.

However, with the Government aiming to have 1m EVs in Ireland by 2030, ESB has been formulating plans for a payment scheme. Now, it has revealed how much it will cost and when it is set to come into force.

Starting from 18 November, EVs using the 50kW fast-charging units will have to pay in one of two ways. The first would be under a pay-as-you-go scheme that charges 33c per kWh.

The second would see the EV owner sign up to a membership scheme that will cost €5 a month, with a slightly cheaper charging rate of 29c per kWh. However, ESB Ecars said that those signing up to a membership between 29 October and 20 November will not have to pay the monthly fee for 12 months.

When ESB first tried to introduce payments for the national charging network back in 2015, it proposed a monthly payment of €16.99. However, following backlash from Irish EV owners, it shelved these plans and promised to come back to the table with a new pricing structure.

A Google Maps view of Ireland's EV charging infrastructure.

ESB Ecars public charging network. Image: ESB Ecars

Slow chargers still free

The more common, slower-charging 22kW units found on streets will continue to be free, ESB Ecars said, while that network is being upgraded in the coming months as part of a €20m investment revealed in April.

“For Ireland to meet the growing number of EVs on our roads, we need to ensure we have a reliable, accessible, country-wide public charging network,” said the head of ESB Ecars, Niall Hogan.

“The introduction of pricing to fast public chargers is a natural step in ensuring we improve the network and maintain high standards into the future for EVs.”

The pricing structure now means it will be considerably more expensive to charge a car exclusively through the charging network rather than at home on night-rate electricity. ESB Ecars said that the majority of its customers charge at home or at work with a driver typically needing to top up just 15pc of their car’s battery for a 100km journey.

While estimates suggest the number of EVs on Irish roads could reach 8,000 by the end of next year, the Climate Action Plan will ban the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2030.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com