NEWBRIDGE has been left without a public charging point for electric vehicles after the second charge point at the local railway station became inoperaable recently. However there might be some hope for the 30 or so owners of electric vehicles (EV) in Newbridge with the news this week that the Government has released funds for another 1,000 publicly-owned charge points nationally over the next five years.
The €5m fund has been made available for local authorities to draw down from once appropriate sites have been identified.
However this process has not yet started, and Kildare Co Council has not indicated when it plans to do so.
All this came about after the Kildare Nationalist was made aware the second of the two EV charge points at Newbridge Railway Station was now inoperable, and the ESB was giving one of the users no indication when this would be resolved.
At present there are just 12 such charge points in Kildare, six in public ownership and six at railway stations.
“It is a disgrace that a town the size of Newbridge can be left without a charging point indefinitely. How can more drivers be encouraged to make the switch to electric if there are no chargers working?” said the disgruntled user.
“One of the points has been broken for over a year and ESB have said that the charger cannot be repaired and needs to be replaced, however they have failed to do so despite constant requests from electric vehicle drivers in the town over the past 12 months,” she continued.
“This week the second charger has broken down meaning there is no now ESB electric charge point in Newbridge, a town of over 22,000 people. Given their record on replacing the first charging point we are unlikely to have any charge point in Newbridge for a year or more,” she pointed out.
A spokesperson conceded there was a problem but that the ESB was working on it.
“ESB is aware of an ongoing issue with the charge points at Newbridge train station. These points are almost 10 years old, installed as part of the original pilot project for ESB ecars. Sourcing essential components with these older charge point technologies is posing difficulties,” said Paul Hand from the ESB.
“As part of our upgrade strategy, we are undertaking a full review of our charging network and will be upgrading or replacing 60 per cent of these regular chargers over the coming 18 months. The chargers at Newbridge train station is included in these plans,” he confirmed.
Currently there are over 650 standard charge points, as well as around 80 fast chargers in Ireland.
ESB will rollout out 50 new fast chargers (50kW) and 90 new high speed chargers (150kW), and these are likely to be located at motorway service areas and similar locations with high demand.
This project will also see the majority of existing standard chargers replaced with new chargers which will significantly improve the reliability of the network.
This map does not include public chargers that are not part of the ESB network.
The Government has committed to a target of having 936,000 EVs on the State’s roads by 2030.
This year there has been 5,000 EVs registered, bringing the total to over 12,500 [plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles] nationally.
“This will ensure that we build a network of 2,000 public charge points nationwide by 2025, which will be enough to support a significant increase in the number of EVs on the road,” Minister Bruton said.
In addition, new regulations will require non-domestic buildings with more than 20 car-parking spaces to install charging facilities.
Charge points may be located where public parking is provided on-street or in local authority car parks. In many cases, they may be integrated with street lighting in a single lamppost.
The locations of all current chargers can be found on ESB’s charge point map – https://www.esb.ie/our-businesses/ecars/charge-point-map.