Private investment in electric vehicles welcome as Northern Ireland attempts to address network issues

Private sector investment to enhance the use of electric vehicles in Northern Ireland has been welcomed.

By Graeme Cousins
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 5:10 pm

Last year a report to Stormont by the Electricity Supply Board, who run the public network, said the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Northern Ireland was less than 10% of that in the Republic of Ireland.

They said the reliability of the charging network in the Republic is 98%, compared to 69% in Northern Ireland.

Nichola Mallon, who had held the position of Infrastructure Minister, had set up a task force to help the Province get up to speed and also established £350,000 for match funding for local councils to draw down to increase EV infrastructure.

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An electric vehicle charging point

This week is was announced that private firm Weev are to invest £20 million in the installation of 1,500 new charging points before the end of 2024.

Ms Mallon said: “I’m pleased to see the private sector stepping up with investment and I am committed to working in partnership so we can enhance the use of electric vehicles here to help us tackle the climate crisis and the soaring costs of fuel families here are experiencing.”

Statistics on Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) produced by the Department for Transport show that at the last count at the end of 2021 there were 7,654 battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles in Northern Ireland.

Pre-pandemic, in the final quarter of 2019, there had been 3,131.

Most of the electric cars were in Belfast (2,689) with the least in Fermanagh and Omagh (215).

The Department for Infrastructure said that currently the electric vehicle public charge point network of 337 public charge points across Northern Ireland is owned by the Electricity Supply Board and is operated on a commercial basis.