First on-street electric car chargers usable this month

THE COUNTRY’S first on-street electric charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) will become operational later this month.

The ESB confirmed this weekend that four kerbside charging points will be available in Dublin from next week, ahead of a nationwide programme that will see 1,500 installed throughout the country within two-and-a-half years.

The four points are located at parking spaces in Dublin city centre: two in Fitzwilliam Street (outside ESB headquarters), one on Molesworth Street and the other on Adelaide Road.

Known as “juicepoints”, the charging stations are tall, narrow columns.

In a system not dissimilar to the dublinbike scheme, users will be required to register and will then be given a personalised electric fob. Recharging an EV at the point could take one to two hours.

Paul Mulvaney, managing director of ESB e-cars, said that this is the first phase of an ambitious project that will see EVs and charging points becoming commonplace during 2011 and 2012.

The semi-State utility company already has agreements with the Renault-Nissan partnership for electric vehicles and is in advanced discussions with other major manufactures including Peugeot-Citroen and Mitsubishi.

“We envisage having 1,500 charging points installed. Our target is to have 2,000 EVs in Ireland by the end of 2011.

“We have really been pushing Ireland as a test bed and have done deals with manufacturers,” said Mr Mulvaney.

“We are a little different from most of Europe in that they are basing their tests in clusters and cities, while we are doing it across the whole country.”

The ESB have not yet settled on a recharging price but Mr Mulvaney said it will be markedly cheaper than petrol.

He said that there will three different types of charging point. The first will be at home where it is estimated that up to 90 per cent of the recharging will be done, using cheap overnight electricity.

A special seven-pin all-weather socket will need to be installed outside homes. The cost of recharging will be circa €2.50 which is about six times cheaper than petrol or diesel.

The second will be the kerbside juicepoint, which will cost more, but still less than petrol. The third will be a high-speed DC charger that will recharge batteries in 20-25 minutes.