ESB ecars were expected to start charging for fast chargers by summer 2019 and whilst this hasn’t happened at the time of writing, paying a fee for public charges seems to be imminent.
Is this a good or a bad thing?
On the face of it, anything that can disrupt the take up of EV’s could be seen as a bad thing. The government has ambitious plans for electric vehicles (aiming for an ambitious one million EV’s on the road by 2030) so anything that would not help people change from fossil fuel based vehicles to electric vehicles could be seen as a backward step. So surely the government should keep public charging free until at least the percentage of Ev’s increase on the road?
There is an argument that they should indeed do that, but of course the elephant in the room when it comes to public chargers is how many there are and those that are available, their maintenance and upkeep.
If you log on to any EV forum you will find the main bug bare of people driving EV’s is the state of public charging stations. Stories of out of service stations (even though they show as working on an EV map), fellow EV drivers blocking a station for hours or standard vehicles (known in the EV industry as ICE vehicles) parking in charging areas are all relatively common.
Will charging for public station charging mean a larger investment in infrastructure/maintenance? Only time will tell, but so far the government has not covered itself in glory when it comes to EV infrastructure and so has a lot of catching up to do.