Transport Minister Eamon Ryan must ensure publicly available charging points for electrical vehicles (EVs) are transparent and easily locatable on a dedicated app, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Alan Farrell said it is startling to see Minister Ryan admit in responses to several Parliamentary Questions from TDs that his Department does not know the exact number or locations of EV charging points across the country.
“This is quite surprising, given the resources available to his Department.
“Minister Ryan was asked on several occasions this Summer about the number of new chargers installed and their locations. The Minister and his department should be well across this issue as the country tries to lead on climate change.
“However, they simply are not. They don’t know where people can charge their EVs. How has this been allowed to happen?” Deputy Farrell asked.
The Fine Gael TD said this is becoming an even bigger issue considering latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show 18,458 electric vehicles were registered in the first seven months of 2023, compared to 11,175 in the first seven months of 2022. Of the 27,148 new cars registered in July this year, 4,161 were electric.
Deputy Farrell said the Minister and Transport Department should ensure an app highlighting charging points is developed to encourage more people to use EVs.
“Between ESB networks, our local planning authorities and the Department of Transport, there is a clear requirement that all EV charging facilities are located on a publicly available website or app, with real time information on their availability and charging capacity. It is a basic tool that should be available to all,” he said.
“The EV market is booming, with more and more choice on the market for virtually every budget. This increases the requirement for the national charging network plan, in conjunction with our local authority’s EV infrastructure strategies to be acted upon.
“One of the biggest obstacles to people using EVs is the fear of not having an available public charging point nearby or knowing where to go,” Deputy Farrell added.
In July 2022, Zero Emission Vehicles Ireland (ZEVI) was launched as a dedicated office charged with supporting consumers, the public sector and businesses to continue to make the switch to zero emission vehicles.
Deputy Farrell asked what exactly has ZEVI done in the13 months after?
“According to Parliamentary Questions, they are meant to be supporting local authorities in the rollout of charging networks. Yet ZEVI can’t even tell the Minister how many we have let alone where they are more than a year after it was launched.”
The Fingal TD said it is time for innovative and brave thinking when it comes to EVs.
“We need to be enterprising on this. Should all public car parks be required to provide EV charging facilities? Should we follow the French and install solar panels in all car parks to help offset charging facilities? Fingal County Council set up two lamppost charging points in Malahide in 2021, how hard would it be to roll this out across the state?
“Should the Department of Transport require that all service stations above a certain size or pump number be required to provide high-capacity charging facilities by a certain date, perhaps 2026 – why not?
“It’s time to start making life far easier for those who wish to decarbonise their personal transport,” Deputy Farrell said.