“Significant progress” made in north’s EV charging infrastructure, say car owner’s group

The number of ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers increased five-fold in past year, analysis by EVANI shows

The EVANI said it hopes to see progress on an on-street electrical vehicle chargepoint scheme in 2024 (Getty)

The north is seeing “very significant progress” around electric vehicle public charging infrastructure, new analysis suggests.

A survey by the Electric Vehicle Association Northern Ireland (EVANI) found the number of rapid charge connectors for electric vehicles (EV) increased four-fold in the space of a year, from 22 at the end of 2022 to 87 in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Ultra rapid EV charge connectors saw a five-fold increase over the same period, increasing from 15 last year to 75 at the end of 2023.

The EVANI said just two ultra-rapid charge connectors were in place in Northern Ireland two years ago.

“Rapid charger numbers hovered around 20 in the middle of last year,” said EVANI’s analysis.

“Since then there has been a profound change that has seen numbers grow five-fold in the last 18 months, and our latest analysis shows that there are now a total of 102 DC [direct current] chargers in Northern Ireland.”

In terms of charge point operators (CPOs), the EVANI’s analysis found a significant increase in market share by EasyGo and BP Pulse over the past year.

EasyGo is now the island’s largest home EV charger installer.

The number of public EasyGo connectors increased from just four at the end of 2022 to 61 some 12 months on, while BP Pulse added 46 connectors in the past year, from just two last winter.

In total, EVANI found the number CPO connectors increased from 37 to 162 in the space of a year.

The public EV charging market share in Northern Ireland. (EVANI)

There have been some setbacks in the EV charging network in the past year, including large swathes of the north missing out on the EU-funded FASTER Project.

Officially launched in 2021 with a €6.4 million budget, the project was designed to provide 73 rapid charging points on council-owned property across Northern Ireland, border counties of the Republic and parts of western Scotland.

While eight councils originally signed up in the north, just three managed to make the final list due to time and property constraints.

But looking ahead, EVANI said the infrastructure network looks set to grow further.

Dutch company Fastned has announced its entry into the Irish market with plans for two ultra-rapid (300 kW) 12-bay charging stations in Banbridge and Antrim.

EVANI said: “It’s clear that the progress is set to continue in 2024. Let’s hope planning, grid connections and other statutory stakeholders will work hard to allow all these schemes to advance in a timely manner.”

The number of public DC (direct current) EV chargers in Northern Ireland. (EVANI)

The EV group also said it is also hopeful the tender for the ORCS (On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme) will be released this year.

Some 124 chargers were originally announced back in August 2022.

“We continue to lobby for the Department for Infrastructure to launch a pilot scheme on solutions to cross the pavement for homeowners without off-street parking,” said EVANI.

“And we hope to see the EV Task Force publish recommendations on this in early 2024.”