AS a result of the increase in electric vehicle (EV) usage across Northern Ireland, landlords controlling privately owned assets are beginning to develop and expand the infrastructure needed to address this growing demand.
Charging stations are appearing within our local shopping centres, service stations, supermarkets and leisure parks.
According to sources, Northern Ireland has the lowest rate of public charging devices for EVs in the UK.
The publicly available data from the UK’s Department for Transport identified that there were approximately 19 charging devices per 100,000 people.
Of greater concern, it was reported that Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK to have witnessed a decrease in the number of EV charging points, whereas every other region had witnessed growth.
In response to this, the Department for Infrastructure established a taskforce to determine an action plan to address Northern Ireland’s electric vehicle infrastructure requirements.
Some of the recommendations included the development of a rapid-charge network to facilitate 1,000 chargers by 2025 and, where possible, ensure that no resident is more than 25 miles from a rapid charger.
To facilitate the UK Government’s desire to significantly transition motorists to EVs by the end of this decade, it has anticipated a need for around 300,000 public charge points nationally.
However, Northern Ireland’s electricity grid operator, SONI, has publicly stated that the region could face challenges in fulfilling its existing electricity commitments in both 2024 and 2025, unless existing environmental permits limiting Kilroot power station’s operating hours are eased.
From a Northern Ireland perspective, a host of local companies have already begun to transition their vehicle fleets away from internal combustion engines to more sustainable electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
With technology continuing to advance, and sustainability becoming a greater priority for both companies and private motorists, electric vehicles are expected to play a significant role in the future of transportation.
Therefore, the need for a greater number of fast charging and rapid charging stations along the primary arterial routes is seen as paramount.
Until recently, the ‘publicly accessible’ EV charging network in Northern Ireland was primarily operated by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) with over 300 charge points.
However, the status quo is changing, with a number of international companies signifying their intent to enter the local market to bolster the EV charging network.
If you have an active requirement or wish to discuss any potential opportunities with us, then please contact either David McNellis or Jonathan Haughey.
:: John Coyle is a director at Lisney