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Electric car drivers will have to pay for charging with ESB set to announce cost next month

Once the price structure is announced next month, there will be a lead-in time of a few weeks before charging kicks in.

ESB will announce the cost of charging  next month, with payments to kick-in some weeks after.
ESB will announce the cost of charging next month, with payments to kick-in some weeks after.
Image: Sam Boal

DRIVERS OF ELECTRIC CARS will have to pay for charging their vehicle in the coming months. 

ESB has confirmed that it will be making an announcement around its pricing structure for the charging of electric vehicles at its public stations in September.

Currently, it is free for drivers to charge their vehicles at ESB points. There are currently almost 1,100 public charge points available across the island of Ireland. 

It is understood that once the prices have been announced, there will be a lead-in time of a number of weeks before drivers will have to pay. 

There was a big focus on electric cars in the government’s Climate Action Plan announced in June.

Climate Action Plan

The government is aiming for one million electric cars on the road by 2030.

Under the plan, charge points for electric cars will be increased around the country, but in order to incentivise businesses such as petrol stations to install such points, the action plan made clear that the free charging that has been enjoyed by electric car vehicle owners will end. 

The announcement that drivers of electric cars will have to pay for charging their car by the end of the year should not put people off switching to electric, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan told TheJournal.ie today. 

“I don’t think there is a problem with charging people, it can’t be done for free, there is a cost,” he said, adding: “I don’t think people will have a problem with it.”

He said the real obstacle preventing people from giving up their petrol or diesel car is the availability of charge points around the country

“I think if there is real development of that, I think they will accept a charging system,” said Ryan. 

Earlier this year, the government announced a €20 million investment to provide 50 charging hubs across the country along motorways and national roads. A further funding announcement is also expected.

Cost of running an electric car

Ryan added that the cost of running an electric car in comparison to a diesel vehicle, even with charging, is about one fifth of the cost. 

Ryan believes the initial cost of buying an electric car will come down due to every car manufacturer rolling out electric vehicles.

As the numbers of electric cars increase on Irish roads, “we will wean people off the subsidies and grants, though it is probably not that time yet” said Ryan. 

A recent department review found that the increase in electric car take-up “could pose a substantial risk to stability of the State’s finances”. 

It also projected that the €200 million in Project 2040 will soon run out if the uptake continues at this pace, and states maintaining the existing level of supports would be a “regressive choice”

While there were no increased tax breaks for the purchase of cars in the Climate Action Plan, the Taoiseach has said a scrappage scheme is being considered for the future to encourage drivers to get rid of their petrol or diesel car for an electric vehicle or hybrid.

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