EV Chargers Northern Ireland: Guide for Businesses 2022
The number of EVs in Northern Ireland has increased by 110% from 2021 to 2022. But are we prepared for the rise of EVs? If your business is switching to EVs, relying on the public EV Charging points in Northern Ireland can mean being stuck with slow chargers and spotty coverage depending on your location.
Should you really make the switch to electric or wait until the EV wave crashes into the Causeway Coast? We’re diving into the details to tell you everything businesses need to know about EV chargers in Nothern Ireland.
How many EV chargers in Northern Ireland?
According to a government report from 2022, Northern Ireland has 345 public charging points. While this does sound low, most of the major towns and cities have at least some chargers.
Northern Ireland had the lowest level of charging device provision in the UK with only 18 charging devices per 100,000 people. The second lowest, the Noth West of England, has 24.
Belfast is the best city for EV drivers
Belfast has 53 charging points, the most of any place on this side of the border. Out of these 5 are rapid chargers. Second place goes to Antrim and Newtownabbey with 4 rapid chargers and 39 EV charging points in total.
The ecarNI network
For businesses using EVs in Northern Ireland, the ecarNI network will quickly become familiar. It requires an RFID card to use, but once you’re set up with that the network is free to use. The rapid chargers are free as well.
Where can’t you find EV chargers in Northern Ireland?
For businesses, there may be an extra unexpected layer of problems. If you’re in an area with few charging points or few on your journey, range anxiety is a common fear. Slow chargers can lead to inconvenient delays.
Perhaps the most inconvenient factor for businesses here is the lack of rapid charge availability. Areas such as Ards and North Down have no rapid chargers at all.
According to government statistics, there are only 1.2 rapid EV chargers in Northern Ireland per 100,000 people. Again, the lowest out of all in the UK.
Install an EV charger at your workplace for more convenient charging
How can you solve this coverage issue? You could wait for the network to catch up or you could act now to be ahead of the curve. Install EV chargers in Northern Ireland at your workplace and you could get a £350 grant per device from the Workplace Charging Scheme.
All you need to do is find a registered installer and choose your EV charge point.
Is EV charging in Northern Ireland increasing?
Yes. From 2021 to 2022, the number of EV charging points in Northern Ireland increased by 3.9%. For rapid chargers, the increase was 4.8%.
This increase is partly due to the growth in demand, the increase in grants, and the investment from more private companies.
Plans for more EV charging points in Northern Ireland from 2022
Northern Ireland has lagged behind in the number of EV chargers for a few years. However, the private sector has caught wind of the demand, and this has caused a rapid change in growth plans for 2022 and onwards.
The following businesses and organisations have plans for installing EV chargers in Northern Ireland:
- ESB: 5 new high-powered 200 kWH charging hubs and upgrades to 100 locations
- EasyGo: up to 100 DC rapid chargers, plus more AC fast chargers.
- Weev: installing 1,500 charging points at 350 locations, plus 6 rapid charging hubs
- FASTER Project: 25 rapid chargers
- Council Consortium: 135 AC charging stations
- Maxol: 6 high speed chargers
- Tesla: Supercharger hub site in Belfast
- Gridserve: rapid charging hub with 6 charge points
- Everun: 80+ public charging locations
- TESCO: around 10 charging points by the end of 2022
Weev to spend £20 million on 1,500 EV charging points
The biggest of these plans businesses need to know about is Weev’s investment. Weev is a registered installer for EV charging points. Earlier in 2022, Weev announced a £20 million investment plan in public charging points across 350 locations in Northern Ireland.
This will be a game changer for many, including sole traders and small businesses. For companies who are just starting to transition to EV, relying on the public network is standard but has its downsides.
We recommend installing workplace charging points for businesses that have parking space as this will allow you to be more flexible in your EV strategy. For every business with a stake in the EV game, though, the growth of Northern Ireland’s network can only be a good thing.
The new Staff and Fleets grant
The new scheme called the EV Infrastructure Grant for Staff and Fleets gives businesses up to £75,000. This can go towards EV chargers in Northern Ireland for the cost of installation, labour, grid connections and more.
The scheme has some specific requirements which you can find on the government’s guidance page for the Staff and Fleets grant.
The rise of electric vehicles in Northern Ireland
According to government data, Northern Ireland has 3,293 plug-in vehicles as of the first quarter of 2022. Compared to the same time last year, that’s an increase of 1,775. That’s over 110% growth in the number of EVs including cars and electric delivery vans. Clearly, the EV trend isn’t slowing down.
iCompario tip: get an EV for lower tax rates
EVs have a major benefit for businesses. Benefit-in-Kind tax (BIK) is very low for EVs compared to other tax bands. Tax on electric company cars is merely 2% starting with the 2022/2023 financial year. You could save hundreds of pounds on tax by switching to an EV. Find out more in our guide to company car tax.
How much does it cost to charge your EV in Nothern Ireland
Some charging points in Northern Ireland are free to use on the ecarNI and EasyGo networks. However, you may have to pay charges for parking and many have a price per kWh. These rates vary depending on the network and location.
Additionally, if you charge up for over an hour on the EasyGo network you could receive a £0.35/per minute parking charge fee for overstaying.
Finding a good place to charge for a good price gets complicated fast! The best way to save yourself a headache is to use an EV map. EV locations can be found on most apps for EV drivers.
iCompario tip: electric fuel cards make things less complicated
Electric fuel cards are the solution you didn’t know you needed. Instead of using separate apps and RFID cards for every network, charge cards can combine multiple networks into one card. Many of these cards can also be used to by petrol and diesel, so hybrid vehicles are welcome too.
What about the Republic of Ireland?
EasyGo and ESB have the largest networks across the whole island. Other networks include Tesla, Circle K, AppleGreen, and Ionity. For drivers in Northern Ireland crossing the border, the DCI One REV is your best EV fuel card as it contains many of the big networks on one card.
Top 8 things you need to know about EV charging in Ireland
The Republic of Ireland has seen rapid growth in EVs, followed by various government grants and discounts to support businesses making the switch.
- Homeowners in the Republic can now claim a grant for up to €600 to install an EV charging point on their property, even if they don’t own an EV.
- 45,000+ electric vehicles in total are registered in Ireland
- Over 8,261 new battery electric vehicles were registered from January to May 2022
- 1,400 EV charging points on the ESB network
- Government target of 936,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030
- The VW ID 4 is the most popular electric car in Ireland for 2022
- 0% BIK rate for eligible electric vehicles
- Reduce toll charges by 50% when you drive an EV, 25% with a hybrid
Read more about electric vehicles on iCompario
What is the best fuel card for businesses to use in Ireland?
Guide to electric car charging point installation regulations
Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid Company Car Tax
Why Range Anxiety Shouldn’t Be Holding Us Back