NFDA Northern Ireland (NFDA NI) has been established to look after the needs of dealers in Northern Ireland, and work on issues that specifically affect them including MOT, EV infrastructure and the end of petrol and diesel vehicle sales 2030.
Currently we are focusing our lobbying on the Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland. We have recently attended meetings with the DVA and Northern Ireland Minister Nichola Mallon, which have been extremely constructive. Below we outline some of the issues that Northern Ireland is currently facing with it EV infrastructure.
ESB Energy Levelling Up Fund application
In June, NFDA NI wrote a letter supporting the ESB Energy Levelling Up Fund application to upgrade and enhance electric charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
Announced at the Spending Review, the Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. The £4.8 billion fund will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
With the UK set to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) models from 2030, there is a growing mobility divide in the UK. Rural communities are at risk of being left behind when it comes to the roll out of electric charging infrastructure.
In its current state, charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland falls far behind mainland Britain.
Not only does Northern Ireland have the fewest number of public chargepoints per 100,000 people in the UK, but many are antiquated and unreliable. This hampers consumer confidence when it comes to purchasing electric vehicles.
We have recently met with the DVA to discuss restarting MOTs and their plans with emission testing in Northern Ireland. With the backlog and exemption for MOTs following the lockdowns, it would seem timely to raise the issue of the MOT Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and suggest some solutions to the problem.
The MOT problems are raising serious safety concerns with many cars not having a valid MOT.
Charging points and EV infrastructure
NFDA NI has recently responded to the ongoing consultation on NI’s 2050 Energy Strategy. This is a positive step towards creating a comprehensive EV strategy, owned by the Department for Infrastructure
We also met with Northern Ireland Minister Nichola Mallon to discuss funding for Electric Vehicle charging points. Ministers are committed to increasing the number of charging points - currently 237 charging points in Northern Ireland are broken and out of action. We have scheduled a follow up meeting in October to discuss further.
With the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans due to end in the UK in 2030, there is a real need for the electric vehicle market to significantly increase year-on-year. Many of the issues in Northern Ireland will stem from the problem that currently NI’s public ChargePoint networks (PCNs) is privately owned and there are not enough of them to meet demand.
NI has the fewest public charging devices per 100,000 of any region and is the only region of the UK that did not increase its rapid charging device figure in the past quarter. Complaints are growing among dealers and EV owners that the public charging infrastructure that is available is unreliable.
As the EV market becomes more mainstream, many of the obstacles – such as tolerating slower charging speeds and navigating an unreliable charging network – must be overcome.
With the ongoing issues facing automotive retailers in Northern Ireland, NFDA NI will continue to increase our lobbying efforts to ensure the voice of the franchised vehicle dealer is heard.
If there are any issues that you would like added to our agenda which we were not already looking at, please let us know.
For more information or if you would like to join NFDA NI, please get in touch with us via email - firstname.lastname@example.org.