eCar Ireland

eCar Ireland is an all-island project that pilots a basic EV charging infrastructure in which drivers pay their nominated electricity supplier(not the charging station) for the electricity the EV consumes and pay a fee to the charging station.

This cross-jurisdictional project involves multiple electricity distributors, two currencies, and creates a competitive retail market that is accessible in either country. The project is the first phase of an ambitious national mass roll-out.

In the Republic of Ireland, this stage will see 500 public (or semi-public) 22kW chargers (32A, 400V Mode 3) installed in Dublin and at least one in every town with a population of 1500 people of more. Fast Chargers (50kW) will be installed every 60km on the inter-urban routes, mostly at motorway service stations, with similar efforts being made in Northern Ireland. On the Island of Ireland wind makes up 14% of electricity generated (rising to 37% by 2020). EV batteries present an alternative to constraining wind generation. Dynamic smart charging could facilitate electric vehicles without significant investment in generation, transmission, or distribution infrastructure by effectively leveraging constrained wind energy.

The project team has developed smart charging algorithms using weather, customer travel plans, wind generation, and real time electricity prices. These will be used through a “cloud” infrastructure to dynamically control EV charging. In the Republic of Ireland installations have started and are expected to be completed by mid-2012, with Northern Ireland following up.

The Irish system is an example of how a national EV charging infrastructure can be kick-started. It shows that such an infrastructure can not only serve the electric distribution system but can also support other business models. It is also an example for other jurisdictions of a national infrastructure that facilitates smart charging and roaming across international boundaries.