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EV Charging in Northern Ireland

Electric cars are straightforward to drive but when it comes to understanding the methods of charging, there are some things you will need to know. Our trusted team of Electric Vehicles Experts are on-hand to answer any questions you may have.

Public charging

If you live somewhere that doesn’t have a driveway or garage, buying an electric car is still an option, you just have to factor in where to charge the battery. 
Most electric vehicles come with large batteries, so you don’t have to worry about charging them every day and with some cars being able to travel up to 130 – 300 miles on a single charge, you may only need to charge twice a week. 
If you don’t have access to off-street parking, you can find charging points at petrol stations and supermarkets. Imagine the convenience of plugging your car in whilst doing the weekly shop or grabbing a bite to eat? 
Some companies are installing electric vehicle charging points for their employees and visitors. If your boss is interested in having one installed, there are government grants available to help reduce the cost of installation.

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Types of charging points available in Northern Ireland

Slow Charge Points

  • Slow charge points are often the cheapest charge points to use and are rated between 3kW and 7kW. They are best suited to when cars are parked for several hours such as during work hours or at night and are normally formed in the shape of a three-pin socket.

Fast charge points

  • If your car is parked for a few hours, then a fast charge works perfectly and is rated between 7kW and 22kW.

Rapid Charge points

  • These are commonly rated up to 50kW but can rate up 150Kw in some locations. These are most commonly found at service stations and are perfect for top-ups when already out on the road.

Although rapid charge points are the quickest way to recharge your car, recharging a vehicle to 80% in around 30 minutes, they are the most expensive to use and cannot be installed at home.

Most of your charging will be done overnight and at your home. If you have a garage or a driveway, the cheapest and most convenient way to smart charge your car is by installing a dedicated charge point.

What is Smart Charging?

Smart charging is a safe and handy way of charging your electric car at times when demands for electricity are lower, such as night-time or when there is additional renewable energy on the grid. Charging at off-peak times reduces costs for electric car drivers by using cheaper energy rates and is a great way to make savings when charging your car. 
You can use a regular UK three-pin socket, but they are much slower than a dedicated charging point and may involve running charging cables from inside your home. For safety reasons, extension cables should not be used. 
Across Ireland, there are 1,350 charging points, so there are plenty of opportunities to top up whilst on journeys. It is advisable to plan whilst travelling longer distances. Public charge points have become a common feature at service stations and, most recently, some newer electric cars can travel up to almost 300 miles on a single charge.

Electric Car Charging Tips 

Did you know that you can extend the range of your electric car’s charge by including these useful techniques in each car journey? 

  • Anticipate the road to avoid harsh acceleration and braking
  • Keep an eye on your speed
  • Consider how to use the heating and air conditioning – why not pre-heat the car whilst plugged in to avoid using the battery at the start of your journey?
  • Take the time to understand the car’s eco-mode features and capabilities. 

Currently, in Northern Ireland, ESB is the main EV charging network with 337 free charging points across Northern Ireland. If you wish to use ESB, you must use an ESB charge point access card to access the ESB public charging network. You can register for access card here

When planning a journey, it’s best to plan ahead and research charging points along the way, should you need to stop off for a top-up. You can download the ESB eCar app from the Apple and Google Stores and they give you access to real-time information – so you can be aware of working charging points as well as a map of their points across Northern Ireland. 

If you want to charge across the public network, most charge point operators give you the option of using an app instead or an RFID card/fob. But at some locations, a card might start the charger whereas the app might not.

Charging is not free in the Republic of Ireland, so you will need to register a payment method with the ESB eCar app to start and end a session. To find out where your closest charging point is in Northern Ireland, go to eCarNI. Want to learn more about charging? Contact Charles Hurst Electric Vehicle Experts today and we’ll be able to help!

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