Ireland lags behind Europe on EV charging infrastructure – report

22 Sep 2021

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The report also found that only 5pc of new vehicles in Ireland last year were EVs, compared to 25pc in the Netherlands and 75pc in Norway.

A new study of 12 European countries has found that Ireland ranks joint last in terms of implementing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).

The report from the UK’s Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) found that Ireland significantly lags behind its European counterparts on EV charging infrastructure – which may be detrimental to the country’s emissions-reduction goals.

Sponsored by global power management company Eaton, the Energy Transition Readiness Index 2021 found that while there is a will in most countries to increase EV uptake, the policies and governance transition required to implement changes are not in place yet.

According to the report, Ireland has around 2,000 charging points – mostly in urban areas – around the country. ESB says that it owns and operates 1,350 public charging points which, up until last year, were free to use.

In terms of EV uptake, the report found that only 5pc of newly registered vehicles in Ireland last year were EVs. This is far behind the Netherlands’ 25pc and Norway’s 75pc. Along with Sweden and Finland, Norway was a frontrunner in nearly all parameters measured in the index.

Even though the Irish Government has plans to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in the coming years, a recent Circle K survey found that only half of Irish motorists expect to be driving EVs by 2030. It also found that only 30pc of respondents believed that the Government’s target of having 1m EVs on Irish roads by 2030 was achievable.

Robert Hull, lead author of the REA report, said that emissions from new cars will have to reduce by 55pc on 2021 levels if Ireland is to meet its 2030 targets. “To meet this target, there is an urgent need for the acceleration of the roll-out of EV charging points across the country,” he added.

“Delivering net-zero public charging infrastructure and investment is crucial to guarantee the widespread adoption of EVs. This burden does not need to be shouldered by Government alone, but it does need to work with commercial entities that have the ability to deliver a charging network at scale.”

While Ireland underperformed in the EV infrastructure category, it ranked higher on other indices in the report such as overall energy readiness and public support for renewables.

Phil Kane, country manager for Eaton, said that despite widespread public and political support for the energy transition, there is a “mismatch” between ambition and action. “The tools exist for the provision of a robust EV charging network, but to unlock much-needed investment, business needs to see the right regulatory framework created,” he said.

“This will give consumers the confidence that they have access to charging when they need it, which will ultimately help to accelerate Ireland’s progress towards decarbonising transport.”

An EY survey last month found that while global demand for EVs is booming, Ireland still lags behind many European countries despite a domestic increase in demand.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com