Thursday 19 September 2019

Power to the people - the biggest challenge for EVs

The EV hook-up challenge: getting power to more homes
The EV hook-up challenge: getting power to more homes
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The latest Government initiative to boost use of electric vehicles strives to address several key problems.

Its basic aim is to make it easier for people to charge their cars.

That is an obvious thing to say but it presents a huge variety and level of difficulty to be overcome.

Leaving aside all the talk of 1,000 more charging points to be set up by local authorities over the next five years, the one area of persistent challenge seems to me to be: how do you make it possible for people who don't have a driveway or access to domestic supply to run and charge an electric vehicle (EV)?

Environment Minister Richard Bruton says installing more charging points will go some way to addressing this.

Will it, though?

We are living in an increasingly condensed world of domestic residence. Is it not physically impossible to cater for so many people in the relative confines of a large block of apartments, for example?

Many people may have a car space allocated to their apartment, townhouse or whatever, but providing a home charger for even a proportion of them would require major resources.

People living in new or established terrace houses with on-street parking can't - as things stand - run a flex across the pathway to charge their car.

There is a real challenge here because if the government wants to have nearly a million EVs on the road by 2030, then people living with the confines outlined are going to have to make the switch sooner of later.

Now you can accuse me of being simplistic, negative or maybe just plain ignorant of the facts.

But I wouldn't fancy parking 300 metres away from base, getting the children and bits of shopping out on the path in the spills of rain, getting out the charging flex, locking up and then dashing, half-soaked, to the apartment, townhouse or whatever.

You might only have to do it twice a week but is it feasible on a dark, miserable November evening after a hard day at the office?

I wouldn't do it. I'd want somewhere I could confidently plug in at my leisure, access safely and securely, without having to wear rain gear.

Maybe there are other ways. Maybe I am being overly negative. And maybe the experts see things differently.

But it strikes me we need something quite innovative to make so many change their minds and their modes of transport.

Irish Independent

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