Back in February DfI replied to an Assembly question from Andrew Muir MLA on EV charging provision for the 5 new Park and Ride schemes that are coming to Cairnshill, Comber, Downpatrick, Newtownards and Carrickfergus.
Question AQW 13154/17-22 – To ask the Minister for Infrastructure to detail the electric vehicle charging provision to be available at the five new park and ride projects during the first phase this financial year – Andrew Muir, MLA
The Minister’s full reply can be read here, but there’s no information at all on charging at Park and Rides and instead appears to try and lay out reasons why it’s not required. This paragraph, often quoted by DfI, is particularly frustrating…
It is anticipated, that where possible the majority of EV charging should be carried out at home, with the majority of EV drivers having availed of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) home charge point grant.
Even if everyone had access to off-street parking (and between 30% and 40% of NI dwellings do not) they still require charging on the go. Sometimes just to get home from their commute in the most affordable EVs with the smallest batteries. If DfI could ensure at least some of their policy makers drove EVs it would go a long way to solving these sort of unhelpful comments.
We have since contacted Translink to see what they could tell us and they provided us with the following statement…
Our Park and Ride projects will include “future proofing” works for the future installation of Electric Vehicle charging points. This involves the provision of underground ducting and electrical infrastructure. Translink are currently reviewing all their Park and Ride sites to establish suitable locations for the installation of EV charging points which will be undertaken as a separate project – Translink
So why was there no mention of any of this information in the minister’s reply? Is DfI out of touch with what’s going on at Translink?
While there are no numbers or dates provided for the separate charger project, it’s good to see that at least the preparation is underway. And this statement confirms that all Translink park and rides here, not just the 5 new ones, will have EV charging at some point in the future.