Belfast Telegraph

Public and private sector charge ahead together 

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Regional Development

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy and Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan today launched the first private sector electric vehicle rapid charge point at IKEA in Belfast.

IKEA has made a sizeable investment in the installation of a network of electric vehicle rapid charge points throughout their UK stores, including IKEA Belfast. This charge point is particularly unique as it is the first private sector rapid charge point to be connected to the existing ecar network and IT system. Anyone who registers for an ecar access card will be able to use the same access card to use the rapid charge point at IKEA Belfast. The ecar Project is continually advancing its charge point management IT system to enhance the user’s experience of using the charging infrastructure across the region.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Danny Kennedy said: “I welcome this significant investment by IKEA and their role in continuing to enhance the charge point network. Electric vehicles are a growing part of our future and I would encourage everyone who is thinking of purchasing a new car or van to explore the electric vehicle option. As well as helping the environment, motorists will benefit from not paying car tax while business users can also benefit from enhanced capital allowances.”

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “Our aim is to make Northern Ireland a leader in carbon reduction and the use of electric vehicles, ideally powered by electricity from renewable sources, is an excellent way to decarbonise transport and contribute to our climate change, air quality and noise objectives. IKEA have added another dimension to their already impressive sustainability programme by being the first private sector organisation in Northern Ireland to invest ina rapid charge point for use by their customers.”

To further encourage the take-up of electric vehicles the eCar project, with the help of the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, has made funding available for up to 180 home or workplace charging points within the current financial year, however time is running out. eCar grants for charge points in homes and workplaces are still available for anyone who buys an electric vehicle before 31 March 2014.

Danny Kennedy said: “Since the launch of the eCar charge point infrastructure we have seen a steady increase in consumers buying electric vehicles. This rise is very welcome and I have no doubt the incentives currently available to both home and business users have played a part in this.”

The number of electric vehicles in Northern Ireland has increased 25-fold over the 18 months. There were five electric vehicles in Northern Ireland when the first charge points were installed in April 2012 and there are now over 130 with numbers continuing to increase.

The Department for Regional Development and the Department of the Environment are joint leaders of a consortium of public and private sector organisations, which has secured funding of up to £2.9million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure under the ‘Plugged in Places’ initiative, with matched funding provided by the consortium members.”

Mark H Durkan said: “So far this year the eCar project has provided around 30 charge points under this scheme with the grant uptake steadily increasing as the year progresses. The New Year typically sees a rise in sales to correspond with the new car registration numbers. With this in mind and with new electric vehicle models from the major manufacturers recently appearing on the market, this would be an opportune time to make the switch to electric, take advantage of the grant and help us work towards a clean and green future for everyone.”

Notes to editors:

1. The eCar Project in Northern Ireland is jointly led by Department for Regional Development and Department of the Environment. The project to date has placed an emphasis on public charge points and has gradually built a comprehensive charge point network in Northern Ireland which complements the network in the Republic of Ireland and places Northern Ireland at the forefront of electric vehicles infrastructure within Europe.
2. Charge points in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are fully compatible. Electric vehicle owners from Northern Ireland can use their eCar access card to top up their vehicle throughout the Republic.
3. Anyone, including business users, can take advantage of a Government grant that offers a saving of up to £5000 off the list price of a new electric car or up to £8000 off the list price of a new electric van.
4. The first 180 private or business users who buy an electric vehicle qualify for a £1,500 grant to install a charge point at their home or workplace before the 31 March 2014.
5. Other financial incentives are available, including: exemption from fuel duty; vehicle excise duty; reduced company car tax; van benefit charge; and fuel benefit charge. Business users can also benefit from enhanced capital allowances. 
6. Electric vehicle owners will order their charge point from a potential list of accredited suppliers found at http://www.ecarni.com, who will then install the charge point. After installation and commissioning, the charge point supplier will re-claim the grant and eCar will reimburse the supplier with the cost.
7. The maximum limit of grant-funding is £1,500, which generally covers the overall costs, however, if the cost exceeds this limit the customer will be liable for any excess.
8. Further information can be found on the ecar charge website: http://www.ecarni.com

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