There has been little improvement in the number of public electric vehicle (EV) charging points in Cork city's northside in the past year, despite the rest of the city and county seeing significant investment in the network.
Around this time last year, the ESB vowed to invest more in high-power EV charging in Cork, with just one charging point for the northside city suburbs compared to at least seven south of the river.
When the immediate city centre is excluded, such as those near Kent Railway Station, just Deasy's Circle K/Topaz forecourt on the Commons Road in the northside has a fast charger that is managed by the ESB, while the Silversprings Hotel in Tivoli also has a charge point that is not managed by the electricity firm.
Blarney, now considered part of the city since the boundary extension, also has a standard ESB charging point at Castle Close Road — some 8km from the city centre.
This is despite the ESB saying it has upgraded more than 590 charge points throughout the country since October 2019, while it is also upgrading up to 50 standard chargers to fast chargers in a number of locations, with 31 of these already deployed.
Some 50 high-power charging hubs are also being rolled out on motorway and national road sites, the ESB said.
The €20m investment in the EV charging network across Ireland is part-funded by the Government’s Climate Action Fund, and there are now more than 1,350 charge points across the island, the ESB said.
These are a mixture of standard (22kW AC), fast (50kW DC) and high power (up to 350kW DC) chargers, it added.
The firm said it was "continuing to work on new locations suitable for high power charging in County Cork".
Expert in the field and editor of consumer help website, Tom Spencer, said
there was "definitely a stark comparison between the north and south side of Cork city".
"Certainly this doesn't seem good enough — in fact, County Cork is incredibly under-served for chargers in general.
"Looking at those countries which have been very successful in adopting EVs such as Norway and the Netherlands, the ideal is to have banks of rapid chargers positioned on main routes into and out of cities, as motorway driving is the most energy-intensive, and this means that EV drivers can be catered for at the beginning and end of their trips."
These should be supplemented by slower chargers at strategic points in the city, he said.
Mr Spencer said the picture in Limerick city was also stark.
"Sadly Limerick is pretty similar. The majority of chargers are located in the center of the city, albeit with a couple of rapid chargers on the outskirts nearer to the motorway."
Mass ramping up of EV charging is needed over the next five years, Transport and Environment Minister Éamon Ryan has conceded.