By Emma Ryan
A RECENT Council meeting has heard that electric car drivers are having to spend hours queuing up to charge their cars due to the lack of infrastructure in Letterkenny.
The issue was raised by Cllr Donal Coyle at last week’s Letterkenny Milford Municipal District meeting.
He called on the council to invest in more EV charging stations throughout the District as the number of electric cars on the road continues to increase.
Currently there are six locations in Letterkenny with public charging points – Letterkenny University Hospital, An Grainan Threatre Car Park, Tobins Service Station, The Radisson, Justice Walsh Car Park and a newly installed site at Dillons Hotel on the main street.
Cllr Coyle said there has been an 86 per cent increase in electric car usage in the past two years, not including hybrids, but there remains to be a shortfall in the number of charging points.
“In 2022, there was over 15,000 electric cars in Ireland but in January of 2023, there were 34,000 electric cars registered.
“It has previously been suggested that the local authorities would play a vital role in this and I think we need to work on increasing the number of public sites,” said Cllr Coyle.
He suggested looking at the idea of a mobility hub in Letterkenny.
“Mobility hubs have already been done by Dublin City Council and it’s something we could look at here.
“Due to the huge increase over the last three years and the fact fossil fuel cars will be called out by 2035 as far as the EU is concerned, we need to treat this with urgency,” said Cllr Coyle.
The motion was seconded by Cllr Pauric McGarvey who said the queues at the electric charging points are ‘crazy’.
“I agree with all that Cllr Coyle has said. The queues are crazy for the charging points we have here.
“Sales reps are coming to the town and they are having to spend most of their day queuing for a charging point. They are so badly needed,” said Cllr McGarvey.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said, “The Draft Letterkenny Plan and Local Transport Plan 2023-2029 will, when adopted, confirm the Council’s broad policy support for EV charging points in Letterkenny.
“However the provision of EV charging facilities throughout the MD will require a collaboration of stakeholders including ZEVI, (Zero Emissions Vehicles Ireland), ESB networks, EirGrid, TII, Commission for Regulation of Utilities, SEAI, energy suppliers and forecourt operators as well as the necessary funding provision and resources.
“The Government’s new Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025 and Implementation Plan sets out the steps for delivery of a national EV charging network and will provide the framework for the roll out of EV infrastructure in the country.”