NI Charger Map

Earlier this year DfI commissioned 4 independent transport research projects. They cover Active Travel and Modal Shift, Alternative Fuels for Transport, Greening of the Fleets and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.

Key Findings

The EV report is dated 4th August and was made public on 17th December. Amongst the report’s key finding are the following;

  • The sales of plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Battery electric vehicles (BEV) in the UK have seen an unprecedented growth over the last year, with more than one in ten new vehicles registered as a PHEV or BEV
  • Growth lags behind in NI, with only 4,818 vehicles registered as EVs (0.4% of total registered vehicles) as of December 2020
  • Northern Ireland requires a strategy that would ensure a faster transition than that which it is currently on in order to also meet its overarching Net Zero target
  • Lower EV awareness and user uptake means there is a role for the Northern Ireland Executive government to play through devolved policy and actions that further encourage the uptake of EVs
  • The EV charging infrastructure market is rarely profitable, it is essential for the private sector to have public sector support to build the networks
  • There is not one solution to encouraging growth of the EV market. Progressive government targets, both monetary and non-monetary incentives, sufficient funding programmes and a comprehensive charging infrastructure network along with a definitive approach to charging infrastructure development have all contributed to successful EV market development in leading countries
  • Northern Ireland should set up a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Taskforce to develop, implement, review, and monitor the measures available to Northern Ireland to accelerate the uptake of zero carbon technologies in the road transport sector.

NI Charger Requirements

The report considers how EV numbers will grow here, in 3 different scenarios, predicting an almost 10 fold increase by 2025 (going from around 6,500 as of Q2 this year, to 60,000). And that is this report’s most pessimistic scenario for growth over the next 3 years, that figure more than doubles in its most optimistic case…

We forecast there will be between 60,000 and 125,000 EVs in Northern Ireland in 2025, compared to 4,818 in 2020. This will increase to 400,000 EVs by 2035 in the most conservative scenario (Modest Growth), 600,000 in the medium scenario (Addressing Climate Change) and 750,000 EVs in the High scenario (Accelerated Ambition).

Rapid Change

The Steer Group report also recommends concentrating on rapid chargers in the expansion of the network…

Given the rural nature of the country and the high ratio of consumers who potentially have access to home charging solution, Northern Ireland’s infrastructure development should focus on developing the rapid charging network which will help EV user’s top-up their vehicles when required such as during long distance trips, and the urban areas where access to a home charging solution is not readily available.

The research looked at other countries and found that the charge point to electric vehicle ratio in the Netherlands was the best at 1:5. However, it discusses a much less impressive figure here…

In consideration of the charge points to EV ratio of 1:70, Northern Ireland would require roughly 1,415 public charge points in its network in 2025 (Addressing Climate Change scenario) to meet the potential demand from EVs compared to 337 charge points currently available of which, about two-thirds should be rapid charge points.

Even with that high ratio of 70 vehicles per charger, the report still finds that Northern Ireland will require almost 1,100 additional units by 2025. That represents a 320% increase over what we have today and with just 36 months to go, means 30 new chargers will have to be installed each and every month to hit that target. Backing this up is a similar figure from the T&E report from May this year.

EVANI’s Take

While EVANI have always said that replacing the existing ESB network is the best place to start, we have also pointed out that this will only get us back to where we were 10 years ago. As is evident in this research, planning and funding future growth is essential.

There are around 20 rapid chargers in NI currently and several recently announced projects should bring the following increases to that number…

That is a significant increase, and should take NI from 20 to around 130 in the next 18 to 24 months. There are currently no numbers from the Maxol project and there are other announcements expected in the new year too. However, the recommendation above from this new research is that two thirds of those 1,415 chargers required by 2025 should be rapids – meaning we are aiming for a target more like 1,000.

We are encouraged by these recent investment announcements as well as the findings of this DfI commissioned research. Especially its backing of our recommendation to form an EV Taskforce, which met for the first time last week, as well as setting real targets for 2025.

You can read the full report commissioned by the Department for Infrastructure here – Development of Electric Vehicles in Northern Ireland ref: 24038601


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