John Byrne, Head of e-mobility at ESB, provides an insight into the significant investment being made in upgrading and rolling out new charging infrastructure in Ireland and Great Britain
ESB is currently investing more than €30 million in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the island of Ireland and Great Britain, cementing the group’s ongoing commitment to driving electrification of transport and providing a best-in-class network for the increasing number of EV drivers.
There are now more than 1,400 EV charge points across the island of Ireland, with a further 500+ EV charge points across London, Birmingham and Coventry. ESB’s ambition is to have 3,000 chargers available by 2030 with a primary focus on providing high powered changers, multi-charger sites and increasing the speed of our networks.
“This target is ambitious, especially in the face of global demand for EV chargers and the process involved in site assessments and planning,” explains John Byrne, head of e-mobility at ESB. “But it is a target that we are committed to meeting, and it is the role we play in helping Ireland achieve its climate action ambitions by 2030.”
Republic of Ireland
“ESB’s focus over the next five to ten years will be the accelerated delivery of additional high power charging hubs (150kW) at key geographic locations throughout Ireland,” explains John. “We also plan to double the size of the fast-charging (50kW) network nationally. These investments will provide sufficient charging capacity for the increasing volumes of EVs on Irish roads as we approach 2030.”
Since its establishment in 2010, ESB has invested more than €70m in establishing and operating the public charging network. Included in this is an investment of €20m to expand and enhance the charging network across Ireland and is part-funded by the Government’s Climate Action Fund.
The upgrade and roll of new infrastructure include:
Installation of 50+ multi-charger hubs
Replacement of 600 standard charge points
Upgrade of 40 standard chargers to faster speeds
“We are constantly adding to and upgrading chargers on the network,” adds John. “2022 was a milestone year for EV sales and having a comprehensive and reliable charging network is critical to this. We now have an uptime of 98%, a reflection of the considerable investment we have made in the network and our commitment to providing a leader service for our customers.”
ESB also operates and maintains the charge point network for EV drivers in Northern Ireland. The system on the island is fully inter-operable allowing seamless access to charge points in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
ESB was awarded Stg £3.27 million from the Levelling Up Fund (LUH) to expand and enhance the EV charging network in November 2021. Coupled with ESB’s own capital investment, allows us to replace all existing fast (22kW) and rapid (50kW) EV chargers across Northern Ireland. The legacy infrastructure will be replaced with the fastest, most reliable and advanced technology available.
This project will double the existing number of rapid chargers and will also see the introduction of high power (200kW) charging for the first time in Northern Ireland through the delivery of five high power charging (200kW) hubs in strategic locations. These high-power charging hubs can charge multiple vehicles simultaneously and can provide an EV with 100km of range in as little as six minutes.
“Enabling the electrification of transport is a key part of ESB’s Net Zero to 2040 strategy to help tackle climate change,” explains John Byrne. “The injection of this investment will completely revamp the EV charging network in Northern Ireland, modernising it, making it faster and more reliable to support the growing numbers of EVs on our roads.”
To date, more than 20% of fast and rapid chargers have been replaced at key locations.
Having operated in GB as a successful independent generator and acquired significant expertise in the EV industry, ESB expanded its business portfolio with the roll out of charging infrastructure (via ESB Energy) in London, Coventry and Birmingham since 2018.
To date, the primary focus is on providing rapid infrastructure for the taxi industry and members of the public and collaborating with respective councils to help them fulfil their electrification of transport ambitions.
There are now more than 130 rapid chargers (50kW) in London, 39 in Coventry and nearly 200 rapid and fast chargers being rolled out in Birmingham. Three new ultra-rapid charging sites (300 kW) will come on stream in January 2023.
“The technology has changed significantly since we first started in the EV charging industry 12 years ago, but our commitment to the electrification of the transport industry and customer service remains the same,” adds John.