Our second members Zoom meeting saw ecars Manager, John Byrne, give a presentation on the ESB chargers across Ireland. His 45 minute presentation was followed by a 30 minute Q&A session, with some great quality questions on the Northern Ireland network from our members. You can view the video of the discussion below, along with a summary of some of the most significant points to come out of the meeting. Many thanks to John Byrne and to Derek Reilly for MC’ing. To attend future meetings please consider joining EVANI (free and paid options available)
Summary of Answers
- All chargers have now been ordered and the first new equipment is due to be delivered to ESB around May / June this year. Once they arrive, work will start immediately to install them
- The new Hubs require more planning / lease discussions with landlords etc. ESB are considering more than the 5 Hubs originally announced
- The new Rapid Hubs will have a minimum 4 bays (2 x 200kW units). There is currently 1 proposal for an 8 bay hub (4 x 200kW units). These plans may be down graded to 150kW units or upgraded to 300kW – depending on supply available from the DNO (NIE Networks).
- As for Hub locations, some will be in Belfast and 2 offers have been made to land owners in Derry/Londonderry. Others on main motorway routes etc
- ESB plan to replace all stand-alone 50kW rapids with 100kW units. However, this is dependant on supply available from the DNO (NIE Networks). When there’s a 100kW charger, 2 cars can both plugin at 50kW each
- The 5 recently installed 50kW chargers (Sprucefield, Boucher Road, Shore Road, Templepatrick – and soon Portrush) are temporary and will also be replaced with 100kW units
- Also some of the 22kW ACs that were replaced last year will be changed to 100kW DC
- In total 20 existing AC sites will be converted to DC in the first case, although John also commented that “I can see a point arising where a lot more than 20 will be upgraded”
- Some replacement chargers will be CCS / CHAdeMO, while others will be CCS / CCS as we move to a “predominantly CCS” fleet.
- The planned completion date for all works (including the new Hubs) is August 2023
- All new sites will be accessible 24/7. ESB are also talking to landlords at some existing sites who gate their premises, to try and enable them to stay open.
- Pay-to-charge is still on course to be turned on in Northern Ireland this year (first half?). New cards will be required and account details to be setup etc
- Overstay fees on DC will apply after 45 minutes and probably be turned on at the launch of payments
- Regarding geographical gaps for charging around the province – part of Levelling Up Fund grant is that project enhances charging across all 6 counties, not just high population areas. One of the hubs is planned for either Omagh or Enniskillen. Currently in early planning stages, talking to landlords
- Lighting / safety at chargers at night – traditionally some chargers were located out of the way. But businesses are putting them in more prominent positions now. All new sites going forward will have lighting and be more visible, and in many cases be beside other amenities (shops, on forecourts etc)
- Shore Road Failure on day 1 – was a firmware issue. Charger was replaced at short notice and had to be upgraded after it was installed. Generally new chargers have reliability in the high 90%’s
- Member requested Android Auto / Apple Carplay for the app – ESB will come back with an answer
- Contract for phone support line is up for renewal and ESB are looking for “betterment” in the new contract
Check out the entire video of the meeting below, or jump to around 40 minutes for the start of the Q&A