Ireland one of the worst performers in EV charging

Analysis finds we are way behind our targets for electric car charging rollout.

New analysis of the rollout of electric car charging points across Europe has found that the majority of EU nations are meeting, or are slightly ahead of their 2024 targets, while a handful are ahead of their 2025 and even 2026 targets. Ireland, however, is lagging well behind even its 2024 targets and is ahead of only Cyprus and Malta in the table.

630,000 chargers across Europe

The report, by environmental think-tank Transport & Environment (T&E) found that the number of charging points across the EU has tripled and that there are now some 630,000 chargers scattered across the Continent.

Under new regulations, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), which comes into official force this week, EU member states must install rapid charging points at 60km (at minimum) intervals along major routes. (There is some debate about this legislation, with critics pointing out that you only need to install one connection every 60km to meet the legislation, which is not much help to anyone.)

Bulgaria actually tops the table, being massively ahead of its 2024, 2025, and 2026 targets. However, this is a bit of a statistical anomaly because it has a low number of EVs on the road and has recently installed a number of DC fast chargers, bringing its total to 1,500.

Ireland isn’t doing enough

Ireland’s performance is unfortunately simpler to calculate - we’re just not doing enough nor even close to enough to ensure that those switching to electric motoring will be able to easily and conveniently charge on longer journeys. We’re not even close to meeting our 2024 targets, let alone 2025 and 2026, and given the constantly missed targets of charging providers, that seems to be a pattern which will continue for some time to come.

However, there is some hope for Ireland - Fabian Sperka, vehicles policy manager at T&E, said: “Ireland lags behind other European countries for public charging but it can rapidly catch up by installing more fast chargers. Slower destination chargers would work well at tourism destinations and sporting facilities that are not well served by public transport.”

Some ahead of 2025’s target already

As for the rest of Europe, most of the major markets are ahead of their targets for this year, but only Poland, France, Estonia, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are ahead of next year’s target. Only the Czech Republic is ahead of 2026 (leaving aside the anomaly of Bulgaria). T&E is urging governments and providers to cut red tape as much as possible To encourage more charging installations, as well as putting charging providers on notice to achieve a 98 per cent reliability rating for their chargers.

“Charging is perceived as one of the biggest barriers to people switching to electric vehicles, but the picture is improving fast. Now, governments need to go beyond the strict requirements of the EU targets if they are to convince more drivers. More capacity needs to be installed where the actual traffic is and payments should be made simpler. There also needs to be a clamp-down on broken chargers” said T&E’s Sperka.

As Ireland wrestles with suddenly falling EV sales and we all ask the question of ‘why?’, this report seems to point to an obvious answer - build the chargers, and sales will come. If people can’t see charging systems near them, working smoothly and reliably, they’ll delay the electric switchover as long as they can.

Published on April 17, 2024