SSE Energy Solutions has announced a £30.5 million (€35 million) partnership with SSE Airtricity that aims to develop an electric vehicle (EV) charging network across Ireland.
The initiative, formally launched at the 2022 Electric Vehicle Summit in Dublin last week, is set to install at least 30 ultra-rapid EV charging hubs across the island over the next four years.
SSE Energy Solutions has confirmed that the first EV charging hub will open next year at the Lough Sheever Corporate Park in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. The site, the organisation assured, will be wholly accessible to the public and be specifically designed to accommodate long-wheelbase vehicles and buses.
Each ultra-rapid bay will have a charging capability of up to 150kW, which would be able to deliver 12.5kms of range per minute of charging.
Subject to planning permission, phase one of the project will see additional hubs containing 10 charging bays installed in 2023 at Blanchardstown Business Park and Greenogue Industrial Estate, Dublin. Six sites in total are expected to be operational by the end of 2023. This figure is forecasted to grow to 16 by the end of 2024.
Upon the launch of the initiative Kenvin Welstead, EV sector director for SSE Energy Solutions stated: “we want to ensure peace of mind for all EV drivers – domestic, car fleet, commercial – that when they show up at one of our facilities, they can will plug in to a working, high power charger as soon as they arrive, and that they be back on the move on in the shortest amount of time possible.”
A recent survey by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly showed that the number of residents in Northern and Western Ireland who were “very unlikely” to buy a new EV in the next 12 months reduced by 22% if more fast EV charge points were available.
Poor charge point experience also deters 80% of UK drivers, as indicated by research conducted by payment software company Paythru.
A major step towards the UK Government’s 2021 Climate Action Plan target of one million EVs on roads by 2023 would be to address EV charge point efficiency and accessibility. UK Power Networks has urged for more investments into installing EV charge points, which could tackle range-anxiety and negative charging experiences.