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Electric vehicle charging points to be rolled out at sport, retail and tourism hotspots

The government also plans to make a fast charger available every 60km on motorways under a new strategy.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 19th 2023, 12:58 PM

SPORTS CLUBS ARE to be helped install electric vehicle charging points as part of a new strategy to vastly expand charging infrastructure around the country over the next three years.

The new Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022-2025, which received the green light from Cabinet yesterday, is trying to facilitate drivers in switching their vehicles from petrol or diesel to electric.

Alongside sports clubs, other targeted destinations for public chargers include locations such as retail centres and tourism hotspots. 

Meanwhile, on motorways, the government plans to make a fast 50kW+ charger available every 60km, while charging points near homes and apartments are also to increase.

Under the strategy, €100 million is to be set aside for spending on public EV charging infrastructure. €15 million from the Shared Island Fund has been allocated to the new Shared Island Sports Club Scheme, which clubs can apply to for funding from 30 January. 

Last year, The Journal reported that only 33 electric vehicle charge points were approved under a scheme announced three years ago with a view to developing up to 200 charge points annually, which opposition members dubbed “ridiculously low”. 

The new strategy, which received Cabinet approval yesterday, was formally launched today by Minister for Climate and Transport Eamon Ryan.

Speaking at the launch, the minister said Ireland hasn’t invested enough in electric vehicles in the last ten years and is “below where we should be” relative to similar countries.

Referencing an existing charging point scheme with local authorities, he said “it wasn’t happening, so we are changing that” by “providing a 75% grant approach instead and starting to work with local authorities in much more detail”.

On concerns about pressure on the energy grid, the minister said: “We can cope absolutely. We’re very good at integrating renewable energy supply.”

Additionally, further transport plans include the development of ‘mobility hubs’ for electric car and bicycle sharing within communities.

“That capability to really promote car sharing is a part of the direction where we’re going,” the minister said.

He said Ireland “can’t afford to take up all the space in our urban areas with parking cars 95% of the time” and that promoting sharing “brings huge efficiencies” and “huge environmental benefits”.

“Car sharing is going to be part of the future here.”

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier today, the minister said increased uptake of electric vehicles is a positive for the climate and for users.

“We’re seeing a real increase in the purchase and use of electric vehicles. That’s good for the country, it means we import less fossil fuels. It’s good for climate. They’re better cars, they’re more economic,” he said.

“One of the concerns people have is making sure we have charging infrastructure. Most of its going to be done at home – 80% of charging is done at home and that’s a good thing, because that tends to be in the middle of the night, it’s much cheaper and helps to balance our electricity system.

“But we also need a public charging system. We have 1,700 public chargers and also a large number of other private operators but we need to go further.” 

The minister said that in the case of housing areas where people cannot charge a vehicle in a driveway, local authorities will look at using street lamps and other mechanisms for neighbourhood charging.

“We’ve started on the apartments and setting the rules that new apartments have to have the charging infrastructure, but we need that neighbourhood [charging] because as I said, a lot of the charging, we want done late at night, but also further,” he said.

“From the week after next sports clubs will be able to apply to put a charger in. That makes such sense. People want to watch a match, charge as you’re there, and then drive home. But also into community centers, into tourism locations, into destination charging points.

“Also developing as I said every 60 kilometers in the motor network a multi-charge high speed. There you might be having something where you could charge the car in something like 15, 20 minutes.

“One other development – which we’ve just started, we put the first one in Finglas last year – is a community E-car sharing facility, so the local authority puts in the capability for a charging system which car sharing clubs can use.

“That’s a huge advantage. You can have access to a car without having to buy a car. It’s those sort of practical measures that we’re providing €100 million for to be spent the next three years.”

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