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Meet Usman Cheema, Operations Engineer, ecars

Usman Cheema is an Operations Engineer at our ecars business. He tells us about his role in helping to manage Ireland’s largest electric vehicle charging network and why he believes that asking questions in every role is so important.  

Tell us about yourself 

I moved to Ireland from Pakistan about 20 years ago. Then a young 18-year-old, I chose Ireland as I had heard about the great education system here, and this turned out to be true. I studied electrical engineering at DIT Kevin Street after which I worked in the telecoms sector for more than 10 years. I currently live in Newbridge, Co. Kildare and have a five-year-old son, Aryan.   

What is your role in ESB? 

I joined ESB in 2019 as part of the ecars operations team. I am responsible for managing the performance and availability of ESB’s electric vehicle charging network across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This work varies from overseeing performance management and reporting, to fault and complaint analysis, management of preventative and corrective maintenance programmes, supplier and contractor management, analytical reporting, and supporting the expansion and upgrade of the EV network.  

How does this role align with our net zero strategy?  

Electrification of transport is a key pillar of ESB’s Net Zero by 2040 strategy, and I am very much involved in the delivery of this through my work with ecars. The number of electric vehicles on Irish roads is increasing with the ambition to have more than one million by 2030. The task and challenge for ecars is delivering a public charging infrastructure which is resilient, reliable and can cater for this growing demand by the end of the decade. Empowering customers is very much at the heart of this challenge as we want to ensure a seamless transaction for drivers who are making the switch to electric vehicles.  

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your role? 

The biggest challenge, I believe, is enhancing the customer experience with the focus on delivering a charging experience for our customers that is reliable and as simple as putting conventional fuel in their cars.  

Educating customers about their EV and when best to use our charging stations is another challenge. It’s a learning curve for all new EV owners and we are working hard to ensure we support them – from providing a real-time app to having the best customer care team possible.  

In this role, you learn every day. The EV charging industry is changing rapidly and there are new vehicles entering the Irish market all the time. Hence, the demand for the public EV charging network is growing and this will only increase. 

What has been your biggest achievement in this role to date? 

In my view, my greatest achievement on this team has been my contribution to doubling the capacity of the ecars network in all markets including the island of Ireland and Great Britain. Once we achieved this level of offering, it allowed us to introduce a pay-for-use model to further expand the network and enhance our customer experience with app and support care.  

This is a great achievement for ecars over a very short span of time. In just four years, I believe I have become one of the key members of the operations team and wider ecars team. 

What advice would you give to graduates and new staters to ESB on working within the group?  

For graduates in their first role, you may feel that you should know more. However, your degree has taught you how to learn, not how to do the job. Our Graduate Programme is very well structured and helps you grow personally and professionally. 

For new recruits to the organisation, I believe they have joined one of the best places to work and grow in their career. Work hard, make a strong first impression, ask questions, and don’t hesitate to share your past experiences to make improvements. 

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