Recent news of ecars price hikes, government subsidies on fossils, new entrants to the market and skepticism from traditional fossil suppliers may spook EV owners, and add doubt to prospective EV owners.
It’s clear that the “top of the funnel” of EV purchases is healthy. We’re seeing huge growth in sales as supply gets better, but still being out-stripped by demand, causing some lag between orders and deliveries. But that demand is healthy both in domestic car ownership and the adoption of EVs in companies, which is an important step in our goals to reduce carbon emissions on the island.
Moreover, as we come into winter, we’re seeing increased supply to the energy grid from wind. In turn, this is regularly producing over 50% of our demand from renewable sources.
In short, the top-of-the-funnel demand for EVs remains high, and our ability to remove carbon from the grid that supplies those vehicles is improving.
But we’ve seen quotes from Maxol CEO Brian Donaldson suggesting that there is ‘no business case to support’ mass rollout of EV charging stations. Which is at-odds with that top-of-the-funnel demand spike. And in-line with our anecdotal experience of seeing forecourt operators being hesitant to roll-out EV charging due to investment costs, etc.
That contrasts drastically with SSE Energy Solutions, who have announced a 4-year plan to launch 30 “ultra rapid” 150kW charging hubs across Ireland. And is in-line with what we’ve seen in other European countries, where incumbent fossil forecourts have been challenged aggressively by startups like FastNed, Ionity and EasyGo.
We’ve also seen Minister Eamon Ryan drop the “1 million EVs” goal by 2030 in favour of active travel & public transport. Something, as an association, we have called for in the past as filling roads with new cars isn’t a panacea to such a steep climate crisis. Where a motorised vehicle exists, it should be an EV. Especially in a commercial environment (delivery vans, buses, trucks, etc.).
And this is all during an energy crisis, climate disaster and a cost-of-living crisis. Where the government has favoured subsidising fossil fuels long before it added benefits to household bills. And now we’ve seen suppliers like ecars increase costs twice in a single year, causing alarming headlines around public charging’s parity to diesel.
Alongside the top-of-the-funnel success, we’re seeing a squeeze in the middle-of-the-funnel. Once you own an EV, having home charging is ideal but some people are still locked out with draconian rules on domestic units, especially in apartments, hampering progress. Similarly, the government has not leaned into renewables enough to power the grid, or even to use large public-funded fleets (An Post, Buses, etc.) to take pressure off the grid with V2G technology. And importantly, the government took 30mins to drop excise on fossils when the prices spiked months ago, but it took months to react to home energy issues, and we’ve seen no indication that anything will ease the costs from state-owned ecars, who operate one of Ireland’s largest public infrastructure projects for EVs.
IEVOA is continuing to lobby for better representation of EV owners and prospective owners to ensure a fair & just transition. But it feels clear that a lack of focus is keeping the government investing and listening to fossil providers, rather than EV-focused ones as we the public & businesses choose to run EVs. The tide has already turned, and we think more continued pressure on the government to deliver better services to EV owners is vital.