Tuesday 21 May 2019

Boost for electric car buyers: ESB to fit free home-charge points beyond planned 2000

The ESB is to expand its home charge point scheme
The ESB is to expand its home charge point scheme
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The ESB will fit as many home-charging points for electric vehicles as needed this year - even if that means installing more than the 2,000 originally planned under a special deal.

To date, the company has installed around 1,750 home points for electric vehicles. They are part of its 'free home-charge point' scheme for the first 2,000 electric vehicle (EV) buyers who qualify for the SEAI grant.

In response to queries from Motors, a spokesman said: "Our intention is to continue with the scheme until at least the end of the year, even if we exceed 2,000 installations, which seems likely given current EV sales."

He also said a decision on charging for public points around the country will be made "in the coming months".

Following its public consultation last year on the future ownership of the EV charge-point network, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is due to announce its decision in the coming months. In the meantime the ESB manages and maintains the free public charging infrastructure.

Electric car sales (355) this year are running 25pc ahead of the first five months of 2016 but numbers remain small. The Nissan Leaf (175) remains the big seller but Hyundai's Ioniq has come from nowhere to register 156.

Renault's ZOE is on 13 registrations (First Irish Drive: Page 2). Swelling overall numbers are the levels of used electric car imports (Leaf 116, ZOE 12, Teslas 7 etc). The 144 total represents an increase of 176pc on the 52 for the first five months of last year.

With more focus on EVs due to growing concerns over the effects of fossil fuels, auto makers are pressing for change while strongly pushing the savings that can be made.

Electric vehicles are claimed to be three times more energy efficient than conventional cars. It is claimed that while the average annual fuel cost of a diesel is around €1,400, an EV can cover the same distance (23,000km) for around €400 (charging at home/night rate).

Overnight charging at home costs from €2.70 for a full charge on a 30kWh powered battery (170kms).

EVs also have lower maintenance costs and cost just €120 in road tax.

However, the number of buyers here remains low and pressure is growing for the government to make electric vehicle ownership a more attractive alternative.

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