More electric vehicle charging stations on motorways as €21m grant scheme announced

New CSO figures show rate of take up of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to grow

A new €21 million grant scheme to boost electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure on big interurban routes has been announced by the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

The scheme targets the State’s motorway and dual carriageway networks and will incentivise the installation of high-power recharging stations, each with 1200kW of power output, to be located every 60km along key routes.

The grants were announced as the Central Statistics Office revealed the rate of take up of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to grow. Dr Nele van der Wielen, statistician with the CSO, said: the number of new electric cars registered increased by 12 per cent from 2,531 vehicles n January 2023, to 2,829 in January 2024.

The total number of new cars licensed in January 2024 rose by 4,074 vehicles or 24 per cent compared with January 2023.

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The new grants for electric infrastructure announced on Wednesday aim to stimulate the private sector to provide new recharging stations by the end of 2025.

The scheme is targeting publicly available facilities within 3km driving distance of the motorway/dual-carriageway network such as service area operators, hotels, retail outlets for example.

It follows the roll out of new charging stations featuring ESB rapid chargers at Supermacs filling stations in Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, Tipperary Town and Charlestown, Co Mayo, alongside a commitment by the Supermacs group to add electric chargers to all new outlets.

In recent weeks the number of rapid chargers at the Kinnegad Plaza on the M4 motorway in Co Westmeath has risen to eight. There are a further eight fast chargers at the Barack Obama Plaza on the M7 Dublin to Limerick route; another four at the Galway Plaza on the M6 near Athenry; and four at Portlaoise on the M7/M8 motorway.

Pat McDonagh of Supermacs said the number of fast chargers at Portlaoise will also be expanded – while electric chargers were part of the planning permission for a plaza just off the M18, near Ennis in Co Clare.

In a further move Tesla which has its own network of superfast chargers has opened two of these stations to non-Tesla owners, at Enfield, Co Kildare and at Athenry, Co Galway. Tesla currently has some nine superfast stations in the Republic with another in Belfast.

Superchargers supply power at up to 250kW, allowing motorists to charge a vehicle enough to cover 320 kilometres in 15 minutes, if their vehicle is set up to handle such charging speeds.

Circle K currently has fast chargers at Gorey on the M11, Athlone on the M6, Kill North and Kill South on the N7 in Co Kildare; Cashel on the M8 and City North on the M1.

EasyGo which has rapidly expanded its network has fast chargers at strategic points, along motorways and increasingly at supermarkets. A further network is operated by Applegreen offers chargers at Coynes Cross on the M11; Ballymount just off the M50, the M1 and at Enfield on the M4, among others.

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