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Ireland 'in slow lane' for EV charging infrastructure

Norwegian model may offer template for Government

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Electric cars require a strong charging network. (stock image)

Electric cars require a strong charging network. (stock image)

Electric cars require a strong charging network. (stock image)

Ireland is behind the curve in its electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and offers too few incentives to potential drivers, according to Mike Hughes, the head of Schneider Electric's UK and Ireland business, which supplies charging stations to the network and homes here.

Hughes, who was speaking on the sidelines of Schneider Electric's Innovation Summit in Manchester, said the "number of charging points is quite low" in Ireland compared with Norway, the world's biggest adopter of electric vehicles.

"The key to the success of electric vehicles in Ireland is going to be its charging infrastructure," said Hughes. "It's an incentives topic. Norway is not dissimilar to Ireland in terms of population, but it has a much higher rate of electric vehicles and a lot of incentives."

Despite a Government plan to have one million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030, sales of new electric cars accounted for just 2.9pc of new car registrations in January, figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry showed last week.

Kelly Becker, who runs Schneider Electric's Irish business, said that "because of its size, Ireland is uniquely positioned to provide infrastructure for electric vehicles, from buses to trains".

She added: "We would like to see an expansion of the rail line infrastructure and to see the market flooded with electric vehicles."

Schneider Electric, one of the world's biggest suppliers of power equipment and energy automation, employs some 137,000 people worldwide, including 4,500 across 50 sites in the UK and Ireland.

The company, which has been growing through acquisitions, is considering further "opportunities" in Ireland, as it is in the rest of the world, Hughes added.

Marc Garner, vice-president of the French giant's secure power division in the UK and Ireland, said that Schneider Electric plans to work in some capacity on all of the 28 data centres that are being planned for Ireland, just as it does for the 54 data centres that are currently live.

Sunday Indo Business