Donegal has a ‘below average’ number of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points, despite being one of the largest counties.
Research published today by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) reveals the county has 99 EV locations.
That equates to only two per 100 square kilometres – the all-island average is 3.8 per 100 sq km.
The NWRA region covers counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan and Cavan.
According to the report, The Northern and Western region has 488 publicly available EV charge points.
Northern Ireland has 529, the Southern region has 920 and the Eastern and Midland region has 1,261.
The counties with the highest number of publicly available EV charge points were Dublin (639), Antrim (240), Cork (239), Kildare (174) and Galway (172), with the lowest number located in Leitrim (8), Longford (19), Monaghan (24), Offaly (27) and Fermanagh (29).
In addition to it being the most rural-oriented, the Northern and Western Region registered the lowest concentration of publicly available EV charge points per km2 on the island of Ireland.
The report examined the number of publicly available charge points for each county on the island of Ireland.
“The lack of adequate electric infrastructure in rural Ireland raises serious doubts about the government’s ability to deliver on the Climate Action Plan’s commitment to have almost one million EVs on Irish roads by 2030,” the NWRA said.
The NWRA has also, in collaboration with research company ‘Ireland Thinks’, undertaken a survey of residents based in rural and urban areas of the Northern and Western region for their opinions on EVs and EV charge point infrastructure.
The analysis outlines to policymakers what is needed to encourage a greater uptake of EVs and reduce dependence on fossil fuel-powered vehicles in rural regions.
The Climate Action Plan sets targets that require a transformation in how we travel and connect our communities.
EVs can help meet these targets as improvements in battery technology and market offerings have made them a viable low-carbon alternative for rural residents who typically lack access to public transport, the report added.
The survey of 559 residents of the Northern and Western region found that 79% were “very unlikely” to buy a new EV within the next 12 months, with only 3% “very likely” to buy one in the same period.
If more “Fast” EV charge points were provided, the percentage of respondents “very unlikely” to buy a new EV in the next 12 months drops from 79% to 57%, while those that were “very likely” to purchase an EV within the next 12 months rises from 3% to 11%.
Just over 30% felt that every village and town should have at least two EV charge points to encourage a greater uptake of EVs and to reduce “range anxiety”.
John Daly is an economist with the NWRA.
“The roll out of publicly available EV charge points needs to be dramatically improved across Ireland if the government is to deliver one million EVs on Irish roads by 2030, particularly in rural regions such as the Northern and Western Region,” he said.
“Our research has found that the lack of publicly available EV charge points is one of the key factors discouraging people from the Northern and Western region in switching to EVs, with this type of infrastructure central to overcoming challenges such as ‘range anxiety’, namely an EV driver’s fear that they will run out of power before reaching their destination – or being able to return from their destination.”
The NWRA is making the following recommendations to address the issue:
- Enhance provisions under the Climate Action Fund so more EV charge points can be installed in the Northern and Western Region, particularly Fast and High-powered EV charge points.
- Ensure EV charge points are deployed in accessible locations – while there should be at least two publicly available EV charge points for every village and town in the region.
- Implement regionally-targeted grants for EV purchases valued between €20,000 and €60,000 so residents of rural regions receive higher grant rates than their urban counterparts.