I propose to take Questions Nos. 549 and 554 together.
Providing adequate charging infrastructure is critical to ensure the continued growth in the uptake of electric vehicles.
Home charging is the primary method of charging for the majority of electric vehicles both internationally and in Ireland. Charging at home at night is the most cost-effective and eco-friendly way to charge an electric vehicle. Given the high proportion of homes with driveways and dedicated parking spaces, Ireland has greater capacity for home charging than many other countries. A Government funded grant of up to €600 is available, via the SEAI, to the purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles to support the installation of home chargers.
There are currently 668 standard public charge points as a part of the ESB eCars Network and circa 80 fast chargers, mainly on national routes to facilitate longer journeys. In addition, there are a number of location/destination charging points located at hotels, shopping centres, visitor attractions, places of employment, private car parks etc.
Under the first call for applications from the Climate Action Fund, I approved funding of up to €10 million to support ESB eCars to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle fast charging network. The project successfully completed the assessment stage and is now going through the validation stage. On completion of this stage further detail on the project, including information in relation to the location of chargers and an implementation timeline, will be set out.
The key elements of the project include:
- Six high speed charging hubs on motorways capable of charging eight vehicles simultaneously
- 16 high speed charging hubs capable of charging four vehicles simultaneously
- Additional high power chargers at 34 current fast charger locations
- Upgrading 50 standard chargers to fast chargers
- Replacing up to 264 standard chargers (totalling 528 charge points) to next generation high reliability models
At the end of 2017, there were 3,799 electric vehicles (including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) on the road in Ireland. This increased to 7,647 at the end of 2018 – a doubling of the number of electric vehicles on the road. It is estimated that the implementation of the ESB eCars project will provide the necessary fast charging infrastructure to support at least 40,000 electric vehicles.
Funding for public charging in local communities is available through the Better Energy Communities Scheme. The scheme, which is administered by the SEAI, supports community-based partnerships, many of which include local businesses and enterprises.
In addition, my Department, in conjunction with the SEAI, is working on how best to support the provision of greater levels of on-street public charging.