Electric car owners will have to pay to use Donegal's public charge points

But ESB say costs are much lower than diesel

Siobhan McNamara


Siobhan McNamara



Electric car owners will have to pay to use Donegal's public charge points

ESB ecars is bringing in pricing at its Fast Public Charger points around the country.

This service has been free since its introduction in 2010, but pricing will take effect from November 18.

This will be introduced on a phased basis. The organisation claims that charging an electric vehicle at a public charge point will be up to 35% cheaper than fuelling a modern diesel car. For vehicles charged at home the saving is even greater, at 71%. 

The company compares a 40kWh Nissan Leaf and a 1.5L Ford Focus diesel. With ESB ecars new introductory offer, electricity for a 100km journey costs around €4.30. With Pay As You Go (PAYG), the cost is estimated at €4.89. 

And for a vehicle charged at home using the Electric Ireland night time rate, the cost would be as low as €1.30.

According to ESB ecars, the cost of diesel for the same journey in the Ford Focus would be €6.66. The comparison is made on the basis that diesel would cost €1.36 per litre with a consumption rate of 4.9L per 100km

Charging the electric vehicle at a public charge point will cost 33c per kWh on PAYG. 

For motorists who use public charge points more than five times per month, ESB ecars recommends membership for a €5 monthly subscription fee, with the charge then costing 29c per kWh. There is an introductory offer of no membership fee for the first 12 months if they sign up by the end of November. 

Those who are charging their vehicles at home can take advantage of the Electric Ireland night rate of €0.104.

Head of ESB ecars Niall Hogan said: “For Ireland to meet the growing number of electric vehicles on our roads, we need to ensure we have a reliable, accessible, country-wide public charging network.

“The introduction of pricing to Fast Public Chargers is a natural step in ensuring we improve the network and maintain high standards into the future for electric vehicles. The announcement of investment in the public EV charging network is another milestone in ESB leading Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.”

The driving range for a fully charged Nissan Leaf is 270km. The need to find an available charge point and wait for the vehicle to charge remains the biggest concern for many Donegal motorists considering making the switch to electric.

ESB ecars say they are rolling out a €20 investment programme to upgrade the national infrastructure. 

This plan includes the introduction of Ireland’s first High Power Chargers in 2020. At 150kW DC, they will be three times faster than Fast Public Chargers (50kW DC). 

The standard 22kW AC network will remain free to use while it is being upgraded over the coming months. 

Donegal motorists are keen to see more charging points in the county. There is currently one ESB ecar charge point in Ballyshannon, two in Donegal Town, one in Killybegs, one in Glenties, one in Dungloe, two in the Twin Towns, four in Letterkenny, one in Falcarragh, two in Buncrana and one in Carndonagh. A public charge point was removed from Bundoran in recent years due to low usage.

ESB ecars say they are assessing suitable sites to deliver more than 50 High Power Charging Hubs on motorways and national roads. These hubs will be able to charge between two and eight vehicles and can provide up to 100km of electric driving range in as little as six minutes. Final sites will be based on a range of factors including current charge point usage, traffic volume, accessibility, amenities and grid capacity.

The €20m investment is 50% financed by the Government’s Climate Action Fund with the remainder funded by ESB.

A map showing charge points can be found at www.esb.ie/ecars/charge-point-map

Motorists can also download the ecar connect app to find their nearest charge point on the go.