There have been more and more reports of out of action chargers from our members over recent weeks. It seems 90% of the chat in the NIEVO Facebook Group is on the same topic too.
With the winter weather requirements for more energy, there’s more need than ever for EV drivers to have reliable access to public chargers.
. Fourth time lucky! I got a charge at #sc132, Eastside park & ride, #Belfast. Only 1 side working – that was the case in 3 of the 4 @ESBGroup #EV charge points I tried today. Very poor state of affairs. We need competition or takeover, @ChargemasterPlc & @Pod_Point! pic.twitter.com/tqyL9NoWzm
— plugincarguy (@plugincarguy) November 30, 2017
We got in touch with ESB and asked them to provide us with a list of all the eCars chargers in Northern Ireland along with their current status. Here’s their reply…
All the rapid chargers are operational on the ecarNI network and available for use. We are aware that some electric vehicle drivers have been experiencing an issue in relation to the touchscreen on some rapid charge points. This is a broader issue for this model of rapid charge point and we are working with the manufacturer to address this. We will keep you updated regarding our progress.
While this process is ongoing, as an interim solution, drivers can contact the call centre where they will be able to initialise and stop a charge for them. We do prioritise the rapid chargers if there are any issues, as we know that many drivers rely heavily on them. Given that the status of the charge points is fluid, the ecarNI map is the best place to go to get real time information on the operational status of the network. Unfortunately there is no list view on the map.
We pointed out that we’re not just talking about Rapid chargers. A quick look at the ecarNI map shows that there are currently 6 chargers showing as Out-of-Service between Belfast and Ballymoney alone.
At time of writing the map also shows the notorious Barbican Centra, just north of Banbridge as out of service too, so it’s not correct to state that all the rapid chargers are operational either.
Not Good Enough
It’s clear the problems with the charger network are deepening. While the current lack of government in Northern Ireland isn’t helping things, the charger network on the entire island seems to be close to breaking point at times.
Even allowing for the fact that charges are still free, so ESB are not getting any revenue to help maintain the network, the sheer amount of issues faced by our members and EV users in general is damaging the public perception of the cars themselves, through no fault of their own.
Something has to change.