Electric car owners will have to pay for using all public chargers from August 10.
Under the new payment system, it will cost them from €3.41 to boost a car battery by 100kms at a standard/slow-charge outlet.
ESB ecars, who run the system, say that represents a 40pc saving on fuelling a typical family diesel for the same distance.
Up to now EV and plug-in hybrid owners could use the standard network chargers (up to 22kW AC) for free at locations in cities, towns and villages.
The only outlets that involved payment, since November last, were the relatively small number of fast chargers - mostly on main routes. They cost from 26.8c per kWh.
But now, for the first time and after 10 years of free electricity, motorists will have to pay for the standard/slower AC chargers as well.
The decision has been taken after, and to continue with, a major upgrade of the national network, according to ESB ecars.
There are two payment methods for using a standard charger:
*Pay-As-You-Go (26.8c per kWh);
*Membership (23c per kWh and a €4.60 monthly subscription). ESB ecars say the latter is more suitable for anyone using the system more than five times a month.
Super high-power chargers (150kW) hubs will also be installed in the next while.
The majority of EV owners are expected to mostly charge their cars at home, so the public chargers will be mainly used to top-up over longer journeys.
It has been estimated that doing so could mean substantial savings on power costs compared with a diesel vehicle when night-rate electricity etc is taken into account.
ESB ecars says the standard-charger upgrades are part of an overall €20m investment in renewing and expanding the electric vehicle public charging network supported by the Irish government’s Climate Action Fund.
ESB ecars chief Niall Hogan said drivers are already seeing the benefits of investment in the system with “significant improvements in the reliability of the national network”.
According to ESB ecars typical savings in driving 100kms in an EV compared with a diesel car are: