Wednesday 21 August 2019

Six 'super' stations to boost our electric car charge network

Charging points up and running next year

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Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

All of a sudden getting around Ireland in an electric vehicle (EV) looks like it is going to be a lot easier as it can be revealed today that up to six more high-power charging (HPC) stations will be built here next year. And each site will have up to six charge points.

It is the result of a major agreement to substantially expand the charging network for EVs across Europe.

In Ireland the deal involves Topaz installing between four and six HPCs at strategic locations around the country.

The development follows the recent major announcement of the IONITY joint venture.

This involves the BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford and the Volkswagen Group, with Audi and Porsche, developing an HPC network for EVs across the continent.

Those behind the plan are committing to having 400 such stations up and running by 2020.

The IONITY plan is, simply put, designed to make long-distance journeys easier and quicker without range anxiety or lengthy charging times.

Based in Munich, the number of staff involved will increase to 50 by next year.

By the end of this year, they estimate 20 stations will be opened - on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at 120km intervals. That will expand to more than 100 stations over the next year. They will allow for several customers, driving different brands, to charge at the same time.

The network will have a capacity of up to 350kW per charging point and will use the European standard combined charging system to "significantly reduce charging times".

Circle K, the global fuel and convenience retail chain of which Topaz has been a part since its acquisition in December 2015, has agreed a partnership with IONITY to install the charging network.

As you know, the ESB currently operates our EV charging infrastructure.

Of the 90 ESB fast chargers currently here, 42pc are at Topaz sites. The majority are 50kW, through which you can get an 80pc charge in 25 minutes.

They have also added the Tesla 125 kW supercharger this year - the first in the country - at Ballacolla, Co Laois.

It is not clear where Topaz will establish its super-charging stations, but they will obviously be strategically positioned to give maximum benefit and provide EV owners with a measure of certainty that they can take on big mileage and replenish quickly.

On that point, IONITY has said of its Europe-wide plan: "Choosing the best locations takes into account potential integration with existing charging technologies."

It says it is negotiating with "existing infrastructure initiatives, including those supported by the participating companies as well as political institutions".

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