The European island nation of Ireland, already big into wind power, looks now to also have a major presence of electric car charging points. This is the word anyhow recently from the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which is a mostly state owned electric company. The big question though is – will there be enough electric cars being driven to actually make use of them?
ESB said it recently had installed 1000 electric vehicle charging points around Ireland, meaning all counties and 85 percent of major cities and towns there now have access “to EV charging infrastructure.” The utility and its partners aren’t stopping there though, planning for “further charge points throughout the country to include the remainder of towns with populations greater than 1,500.”
By 2020, ESB noted, it is projected every tenth car, or around 230,000 vehicles according to the Journal.ie, driving in Ireland could be powered by electricity. To plan for this potential, actions like the large scale installation of electric car chargers has been going on since the utility, the national government and the auto industry came together in 2008 to prepare.
So exactly how many electric cars are driving around Ireland right now? A recent op-ed in the Irish Times questioning whether it was time to “pull the plug on electric cars” pinned the number at under 200. It was believed there would be 2,000 such cars on the road there by the end of last year, but like our own hopeful thinking here in the United States, reality because of issues like cost and range anxiety has painted quite a different picture.
Despite such a reality check, there seems to remain optimism among officials around the development of this electric car infrastructure. A case of if you build it, they will come thinking? Perhaps. But, as Dermot McArdle, manager of ESB ecars noted in a statement, “Ireland is on track to have one of the most advanced electric vehicle’s infrastructure in Europe. The availability of charge-points are key to the uptake of electric vehicles making them practical alternatives for inter-urban as well as daily commutes.”