NEARLY 16,000 drivers of electric and plug-in vehicles are now registered to use the ESB ecars public charging network.
However, drivers are availing of the service less frequently, especially since fees to use standard chargers were introduced in August. As well as that more people are working from home and travelling less due to Covid-19 restrictions.
According to ESB ecars, the rise to 16,000 registrations is due to a significant increase in sign-ups since August payment for standard chargers began. Paying for fast-charge outlets started a year ago.
There has been a small fall-off in usage of both standard and fast-charge networks since people have had to pay (subscription or pay-as-you-go).
In response to queries from Independent Motors, ESB ecars said this decrease had been expected as some users shifted from public to home charging. “Covid-19 and the associated travel restrictions as well as more people working from home have also had an impact on usage,” Motors was told.
Among the key items of feedback from users was the claim that paying for public power has “freed up chargers for those who need access to them most”.
The ESB is investing €20m to expand and improve the charging network. Included will be hubs capable of charging between three to eight vehicles at the same time.
A new hub was recently opened at Park Rí service station, Kells just off the M3. This is in addition to recent installations at Kilcullen (M9), Portlaoise Plaza (M7/M8) and Galway Plaza (M6). Each site has a 50kW and 150kW charger and can take up to three cars simultaneously. There are more coming.
The ESB is also upgrading 50 standard (22kW AC) chargers to a new type of fast charger. These can deliver up to 44kW on CHAdeMO and CCS connectors, and between 2-6kW on the AC connector depending on the car type. The AC charger will be free for now at the new fast charging points but DC connectors will involve a fee.