July 25th, 2017
The Green Party has launched a new campaign calling for rules to mandate all petrol service stations to install charging points for electric vehicles.
Speaking at the launch of the Electric Vehicles Campaign today, Green Party Leader, Eamon Ryan TD, said that “frustration” that many drivers experience with the current charging infrastructure must be addressed.
Mr Ryan said that it is the Government’s responsibility to provide more charging points for electric vehicle drivers “so that the issue of range anxiety rapidly becomes a thing of the past”.
He argued that “a lack of political commitment” has caused Ireland to fall behind after initially becoming the first country to roll out a national network of charging points in 2010.
He added that new high-speed charging points can recharge a battery in a way similar to filling up at a pump and that even oil companies, such as Shell, are beginning to recognise “the inevitability as they are starting to try and turn their forecourts green”.
Mr Ryan also revealed the results of a new survey carried out by the Green Party and the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association.
The survey found that 38 per cent of electric vehicle drivers find the lack of public charging stations as the greatest difficulty of using an electric vehicle, while three-quarters regarded lower running costs as the greatest advantage.
The survey – answered by almost 10 per cent (231) of Irish electric vehicle owners – also found that many owners are concerned with the range limitations of their electric batteries.
One in ten said that they have often run out of battery on the road because of a lack of charging points, or because a charging point was out of order or blocked by a traditional diesel or petrol vehicle.
One of the main improvements that survey respondents wanted to see was an increased number of chargers available across more locations, particularly petrol stations and motorway routes.
On the matter of how the government could encourage greater adoption of electric vehicles, many respondents cited the Norwegian model of incentivizing electric vehicle ownership using tax discounts, free parking and access to bus lanes.
Respondents also felt that the motor industry should educate both the public and sales representatives regarding the benefits of electric vehicles.
Many reported that car dealers do not have “the same level of comfort” discussing electric vehicles as they do traditional vehicles, and “on occasion actively try to steer consumers away” from electric vehicles.
Despite these issues, Mr Ryan commented that the survey findings indicate the start of “a revolution in Irish motoring” that can be accelerated by improving charging infrastructure.
He said that electric vehicles appeal to owners not just for environmental reasons but also for “the lower running costs and better driving experience”.
“Every car company is now promising new electric models and the battery range is growing at the same time as the costs come down. The era of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end,” he concluded.