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Range anxiety an issue for use of electric vehicles - survey

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SHORTAGE The ESB map showing some of the charging points for electric vehicles in Mayo. The shortage of such charging points in the west has been identified as a factor in people’s reluctance to buy an electric car.

Anton McNulty

Range anxiety and the lack of public charging points remains one of the main reasons for people in the west of Ireland not switching over to electric vehicles.
A survey commissioned by the Ballaghaderreen-based Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) found that just 3 percent of residents in the region are ‘very likely’ to buy a new electric vehicle (EV) within the next 12 months.
The survey company Ireland Thinks, undertook a survey of 559 residents based in rural and urban areas of the Northern and Western region for their opinions on EVs and EV charge point infrastructure.
John Daly, Economist with the Northern and Western Regional Assembly said the survey found that range anxiety remains a concern for motorists in rural areas and a reason for not buying an electric vehicle. 
“The roll out of publicly available EV charge points needs to be dramatically improved across Ireland if the Government is to deliver one million EVs on Irish roads by 2030, particularly in rural regions such as the Northern and Western Region,” he said.

‘VERY UNLIKELY’
The survey found that if more ‘Fast’ EV charge points were provided, the percentage of respondents ‘very unlikely’ to buy a new EV in the next 12 months drops from 79 percent to 57 percent, while those that were ‘very likely’ to purchase an EV within the next 12 months rises from 3 percent to 11 percent.
Mr Daly said the NWRA were recommending the installation of more fast and high-powered EV charge points in the region and that there should be at least two publicly available EV charge points for every village and town in the region
“Our research has found that the lack of publicly available EV charge points is one of the key factors discouraging people from the Northern and Western region in switching to EVs, with this type of infrastructure central to overcoming challenges such as ‘range anxiety’, namely an EV driver’s fear that they will run out of power before reaching their destination – or being able to return from their destination.
“Policymakers may also consider enhancing EV grants as the high price of EVs was seen as the greatest barrier to purchasing an EV, while the provision of regionally targeted grants could improve the uptake of EVs in rural regions with low levels of disposable income,” he explained.
The Northern and Western region, which consists of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan and Cavan, has 488 publicly available EV charge points, the lowest number of all the regions in Ireland. Northern Ireland has 529 while the Southern region has 920 and the Eastern and Midland region has 1,261.
Galway has the most EV charge points in Connacht with 172 while Mayo has only 81 following by 35 in Sligo, 34 in Roscommon and eight in Leitrim.