ESB secure EU funding for expansion of EV fast charging network across Ireland.

ESB and the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland (DRD NI) have been awarded €2.1 million from the EU to provide 50% funding for a major cross-border project to further develop the network of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging infrastructure in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This initiative will facilitate the take-up of electric vehicles and will also help Ireland in meeting its international obligations in relation to reducing greenhouse emissions.

The funding has been secured under the EU Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Details of the €2.1 million funding were announced today (Wednesday, November 28th 2012) at the European Commission event “TEN-T Day 2012” in Brussels with Vice President and Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar said: “This is a welcome announcement for the ESB and for Ireland. The eCars project has been granted over €2m funding from the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network programme to further develop charge points right across Ireland. The Commission’s proposal for a successor programme is currently under negotiation in the EU and will be a key priority for me during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council next year. The funding will allow an extra 46 fast charge-points to be installed, 41 in the Republic and five in Northern Ireland.”

During the project, which runs until September 2014, a total of 46 EV fast charge-points will be installed along the key inter-urban routes as well as transport hubs such as airports and ports across the island of Ireland. Forty one fast chargers will be deployed in the Republic of Ireland and five in Northern Ireland, building on the network of fast chargers already installed.

ESB is currently rolling out an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across Ireland. At present there are 1,000 installed charge-points covering every county and 90% of big cities and towns. Fast charging allows drivers to extend the range of their electric vehicle by up to 130km in 20-25 minutes.  It will facilitate longer distance, inter-urban travel, and reduce any ‘range anxiety’.

The funding will also contribute towards the development of IT systems to support the fast charging infrastructure network and will facilitate cross-border roaming and payment for electricity.

As part of the project, ESB ecars will survey the general public and EV drivers to gauge their views on fast charging and collect usage data.  The results are expected to demonstrate the importance of fast charging infrastructure and will provide an understanding of the requirements for a nationwide network. The European Commission views the outcome of the project as providing a roadmap for other Member States looking to roll out national EV charging infrastructure.

ESB ecars Manager, Dermot McArdle said: “This is one of the first projects in Europe to demonstrate the effectiveness of a comprehensive fast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles which will also be bi-jurisdictional and dual-currency.  In so doing, it will provide a roadmap for the development of a standardised international EV fast charging infrastructure in Europe.”

The ecar programme in Northern Ireland is being co-ordinated by the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland.