Tracking charge points

Zap-Map charge points
Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

If you’ve ever driven an electric vehicle (EV), you might know the frustration of arriving at a charge point only to discover there are no free spaces. If you’re running low on juice, it could mean a worrying and rather slow drive to the next available location.

Zap-Map, however, aims to fix this. One of the leading charging platforms in the UK, Zap-Map has just announced the launch of its app for EV drivers in the Republic of Ireland, incorporating live data from ESB and its network of over 1,200 charge points across the country.

Available on iOS and Android, the app will allow users to locate charge points, see whether they’re in use, and navigate to the location. Drivers can also add information about the charge point using the Zap-Chat feature.

“Our aim is to give the best possible information to EV drivers on the move and the latest app features were developed with this in mind,” said Zap-Map’s Melanie Shufflebotham. “The new app also includes the integration of the Zap-Chat platform for live user updates, and enables the roll-out of new features for launch later this year.”

EV boost

One of Zap-Map’s aims is to help drive EV uptake in Ireland, which has been relatively poor with only around 3,000 models sold here over the past few years. Stumbling blocks include continued range anxiety, high initial costs, limited variety when compared to more conventional models, and the potential that ESB will introduce charges for using its charge points in the near future. Alongside grants and VRT relief of up to €10,000 the government has been urged to follow the lead of other countries in introducing further EV-friendly measures, such as free parking and no motor tax.

Beyond our borders, however, things are swinging in favour of EVs. All new Volvo models produced from 2019 will use fully electric or hybrid power, while Tesla has just launched its mass-market Model 3, a simpler and more affordable version of the Model S. The British government recently announced plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040, echoing similar moves by France; Norway and The Netherlands want to allow only EV sales from or by 2025.

Interesting times ahead.

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