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SEM Chart of the Week

2019

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ESB charge points: Mo Money Mo Problems

Cathal Ryan
Cathal Ryan

ESB announced this week that charging your car at its public fast charge points will now be a paid for service. Although the fee for fast charging has always been anticipated, the timing is interesting considering the government’s intention to have 1mn EVs on the road by 2030 and the historically low uptake of EVs.

With a network of over 1,100 electric vehicle charging stations across the island of Ireland, state-owned utility ESB has the largest network of charge points, which since 2010 was free for the public to use. This week’s chart looks at the government targets and whether ESB’s head start in the deployment of charging infrastructure will be a good investment down the line.

More money we come across

The pricing structure is simple, pay as you go (PAYG) or sign up to a membership plan. PAYG is easy to understand; drivers can either make a one-off transaction at any of the rapid charging points using the ecar connect app or top up their account on the app with credit. PAYG customers will be charged 33 c/kWh to use the charging network. ESB designed the membership plan for heavy users of the charging network (<5times per month). The membership plan costs €5 per month with a unit charge of 29 c/kWh. For a Nissan Leaf 40 kWh model this equates to €11 for a full charge.

In contrast the ESB estimates a full charge will cost as little as €3 by charging overnight at home using night rate electricity, typically 7.5 c/kWh.

More problems we see

ESB has also introduced an overstay fee of €5 for charging sessions longer than 45 mins. This is a response to driver behaviour and is only for the fast charge points on the network which should charge most EVs to 80% in less than 30 minutes.

Guarantee a million sales, Call it level up

The Climate Action Plan targets hitting 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030 and the government has given ESB €20mn to upgrade its charging infrastructure in anticipation of this roll out.

The chart below however shows the running total of cars on Irish roads is a lowly 7,310 vehicles as of September 2019. To hit the government’s targets, over 100,000 new EVs per year would need to be purchased. The graph below shows the number of new EVs registered to date, and how far away from meeting those targets we are now.

Government targets are one thing but there may need to be incentives to push EV uptake past the early adopters to the general public.

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Last weeks SEM Chart of the week | Hy-way: a hydrogen roadmap for Irish transport

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