Over the years we have plotted rapid charger figures comparing Northern Ireland to the other regions. Last year the NFDA put the data into a graph which gave a view of how coverage is growing. Today we have recreated that graph, with the most up to date information just released from the Department for Transport this morning.
So now that the first quarter figures are in, how does Northern Ireland look in relation to the rest of the UK in early 2023? The graph above shows public EV charging devices (all speeds) per 100,000 population, so a fair metric for a direct comparison across the regions.
As you can see, Northern Ireland very much remains the poor relation when compared to England, Scotland and Wales. The GB average now sits at 61.1 devices per 100K, with Northern Ireland at just one third of that at 20.4.
We have extended the trend lines out to 2030 to forecast where Northern Ireland is headed at the current rate.
In any future scenario, NI will have to be rolling out new chargers at multiple times the rate of the other regions, just to catch up.
This is the result of the verifiable in-action of the Executive, and in particular the Department for Infrastructure, which is failing on even the most minor tasks.
The Department’s latest Travel Survey (published March 2023) shows that almost 7 out of 10 (69%) of all journeys in Northern Ireland are by car (up from 65% in the previous study), accounting for 84% of miles travelled here. Yet DfI continues to show little interest in decarbonising what is by far the largest travel mode here. Why is the great work being done by Translink on public transport, not being replicated for car travel?
The Executive is receiving tens of millions from EV infrastructure projects via Barnett consequentials, but none of this money has been ring-fenced and used for that purpose here.
While the Northern Ireland line has begun to slowly lift off the base of the graph, that’s despite the Executive, and not because of it, and thanks to the private sector here instead.
Our Summary Page of NI’s EV Charging Projects continues to grow with around 20 schemes now underway in NI. But the private sector can only go so far on its own. One charge point operator recently told us grid connection costs here are “ten times” what they pay in other parts of these islands. Multiple locations for rapid charging hubs have been selected by CPOs, only to be abandoned as the astronomical quotes come in for a connection. The MD of NIE Networks recently shared that “The single biggest complaint I get is the cost of connections“.
DfE and the Utility Regulator must act quickly to remove the Deep Charging burden from customers rolling out LCTs here. Remember, a fit-for-purpose charging network is not simply a ‘nice to have’, it’s something that will be a fundamental foundation for daily life (and thus our economy) going forward.