As the big switch to electric cars takes hold, a common question from customers when contemplating the switch relates to range and availability of charger points throughout Ireland. I decided to take my electric vehicle on the road around Ireland for a week to put this to the test.
We headed off as a family of four with a full charge from the home charger providing a range of 350 Km’s. Range increases in the hotter weather, so doing the same journey on a cold, wet January may come with quite different results.
Ahead of departure from Dublin and destined for Harvey Point, just outside Donegal Town a full 224 Km’s away, a call to the hotel is made to see if they had charging facilities available on site.
First bit of good news, six chargers available on the grounds so with that in mind we decided to head straight to Donegal with no stops (hoping a 2- & 5-year-old might sleep some of the way).
When we arrived in Donegal, after 3 hours of baby shark and no sleep, I was delighted to see none of the chargers were in use. I was here for 2 days and appeared to be the only electric car there, demonstrating that we still have a long way to go with the switch to electric cars being the norm.
Electric Ireland provided the chargers, I was required to set up a new account before plugging in the car. This first leg had left us with a range of 170 Km’s. 54km saved on the battery using cruise control and adhering to speed limits, using 38.2 kWh in total.
Getting the charging underway went well, however it was a bit tricky to remove the cable on the charger unit. The charge was complete and showed a full battery and I was not able to hit stop charge with seem to confuse the machine. After 5/6 attempts we were finally able to disconnect. A 53% battery charge here, giving me just under 200km came in at a cost of €25.48 & took just over 4 hours to get back to 100%. The KM showing as available when the battery is full does vary depending on driving style, the roads travelled and how laden the car is.
A scenic drive around beautiful Donegal covering another 100km and some fantastic views enjoyed.
Planning, I decide to top up the battery again as the next stopover was Eniscrone in Sligo and following some research, I discovered there were no charge points in the area.
The aim being a full battery would get me through to Bundoran via Sligo Town, a journey of 124Km and allowing the ability to tip out and about to explore the area for another 2 days and then get us through to our next base.
A small charge here achieved an increase of 22% battery & 68km, cost €10.62 and 1.5 hours to complete. The weather was fantastic with the sunshining bright for the few days around Sligo, this gave us plenty of beach time so not much driving was required.
Our last destination was to Cavan and to Cabu by the Lakes. Again, I phoned ahead to find out if charging facilities were available on site and discover that they have only the one charge point.
We left Sligo with the battery showing a range of 266Km and with a journey of 152Km ahead, range anxiety was low. However, one charger for twenty-eight cabins was a little bit of a worry.
Happy to report that the charger was not in use when we arrived, Phew!!!
This charger was a little simpler to use and powered by Clenergy EV. You simply scan the QR code to open the app, put in the charger code and happily no account set up was needed & you could select to continue as guest user allowing the car to charge. On this one, it did take multiple attempts to plug in, plug out, before the charging finally began.
A 45% charge providing 141km and costing €23.89, took 3.5 hours to complete. With there being only one charge point available and not wanting to hog it, we unplugged just in case any other guests needed to plug in.
We stayed in Cabu for a couple of days with little or no more driving taking place.
Our final charge was again in Cabu before we undertook the 142Km journey home to Dublin. A 30% charge adding 102Km to give us a full battery again & costing €17.89, took 2.5 hours to complete.
Again, multiple plugging in and out was required before charging began. Whilst a tad frustrating, it would have been far more annoying if this were the case in the middle of a rainy, windy winters day. We were fortunate on this trip that we were basking in a balmy sunny weather the entire time.
Homeward bound and baby shark at the ready as the chances of the 2- & 5-year-old having a nap are slim and none.
My overriding feeling on the switch to electric cars and the infrastructure within Ireland is positive. This journey did require a fair amount of planning but hotels 100% seem to be getting on board with the need to provide access to charging facilities for guests.
However, I feel more locations such as service stations, restaurants, shopping centres to name a few need to be encouraged to provide charge points. Specially to provide fast chargers which will help reduce the range anxiety felt by drivers. We do see charge points being installed in service stations, but this does need to happen quicker.
The other slight negative is the amount of apps or cards that you need to register with to access the different charge points, some even require topping up with credit before you use them. For the company car driver covering a large area or anyone with a decent commute, this could prove quite frustrating but if you frequent the same places, this becomes less of an issue.
A single app or card allowing access to all charge points would be fantastic however with so many different providers of these, this is very unlikely to happen.
Home now and plugged into the home charger for a top up so I can get back into the office as this current Electric Irish Adventure has reached its end.
If you are interest in leasing an electric vehicle, you can contact Jensen Fleet on 01-4605250 or firstname.lastname@example.org