Petrol Stations To Become Cafés

Fuel stations may become cafés when electric cars dominate, says Brian Hoey of Windsor Motors. Motorists face the unwelcome prospect of paying for their previously free charging, from 18 November 2019. The fees will help to provide a widespread network of charging points. With a twenty-minute wait during charging, Brian Hoey, Senior Sales Executive, believes many motorists will use the time to buy a coffee and sit down, adding to the fuel station’s revenue.

Nissan Leaf at Windsor Motors, Raheny, Dublin. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Nissan Leaf at Windsor Motors, Raheny, Dublin. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Windsor Motors have been doubling their sales annually since the Leaf was introduced in 2010. The newest model introduced in 2017 (190bhp and front wheel drive) has options of two batteries, 40kw or 62kw, with ranges of 260km and 370km respectively. Lidl is providing charge points, and the RDS and many hotels have already installed them. Businesses think ahead and look for custom, explains Brian Hoey. He also sees car hire firms buy electric vehicles (EVs) — grants ended in October. The benefits in kind (BIK) are good for a business.

Battery capacity/ range of Nissan Leaf models since 2010. Graph by Clare O’Beara.
Battery capacity/ range of Nissan Leaf models since 2010. Graph by Clare O’Beara.

Leaf trade-ins sell fast — the older model (24 or 34 kw) would be good for school runs. There is no grant for buying second hand, but there’s also no VAT or Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). New car sales are down in every county in Ireland. Scrappage trade-in deals in 1998 and 2010 to remove older stock, required scrapped certification.

Environment Minister Richard Bruton has stated the Government’s ambition to have one million EVs on the road by 2030; too many to let them use bus lanes. Ireland is still working towards carbon free electric power, but the EVs will take exhaust fumes off public streets and reduce our dependence on imported fuel. Banning cars from the city in favour of public transport won’t meet requirements. The ESB has installed 1,000 publicly accessible charging points around the country, shown on their map here. Motorists will look forward to when garages provide those charging points and cafés.

Dublin Bus broken down on the Luas track at College Green. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Dublin Bus broken down on the Luas track at College Green. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Householders can charge overnight at a third the cost of on-street. An SEAI grant of up to €3,800 can be accessed for fitting home solar, while €600 is available towards the installation of a car home charger unit. Extra power generated by solar panels can be fed back into the grid, but there is currently no incentive, whereas in other countries householders get paid.

According to Brian Hoey, servicing of the EVs costs €120. No oil, no radiator, just a pollen / air filter to replace, check the battery, wipers, tyres, brake pads, lightbulbs, then major parts over time. Nissan tuning updates to the onboard computer need to be downloaded annually from the mechanics’ laptop. These make the car more efficient and safer. Material used in manufacture is light and the car has crumple zones. Carbon-fibre, used in upmarket cars along with titanium, is presently too expensive.

Car registrations to date. Graph by Clare O’Beara.
Car registrations to date. Figures: SIMI. Graph by Clare O’Beara.

VRT grants (€5,000 max.) will vanish once EVs become commonplace. Manufacturers may drop prices with mass production. Lithium batteries are heavy but as R&D continues, they may be replaced by hydrogen fuel cells.

The Nissan EMV200 is a light commercial. Neither van nor the Leaf has a towbar, however. Towing would use battery power, and possibly overwhelm the electric recharging system and the brakes, so these are not generally available.

Car registrations 2018–19. Graph by Clare O’Beara.
Car registrations 2018–19. Figures: SIMI. Graph by Clare O’Beara.
Light Commercial Vehicle registrations 2018 -19. Figures: SIMI. Graph by Clare O’Beara.
Light Commercial Vehicle registrations 2018 -19. Figures: SIMI. Graph by Clare O’Beara.

Interview

Hoey, Brian, Senior Sales Executive, Nissan, Windsor Motors Raheny.

In person, at Windsor Motors Raheny, Fri 18th Oct 2019.

References

Donoghue, Paschal TD. Minister for Finance, Departmental Schemes, Dail Question, Oireachtas, 9th July 2019.

https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2019-07-09/166/

Accessed 4 November 2019.

‘How to charge your e-car’, ESB 2019.

https://www.esb.ie/our-businesses/ecars/how-to-charge-your-ecar

Accessed 23 October 2019.

Goodwin, Andy, ‘Towing with a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric car’, Carbuyer, 31 Jan 2019.

https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/160343/towing-with-a-hybrid-plug-in-hybrid-or-electric-car

Accessed 4 November 2019.

Lee, George, ‘Electric car drivers face new charges on ESB network’, RTE, 23 October 2019.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/1023/1085054-esb-ev-charging/

Accessed 23 October 2019.

O’Connell, Hugh, ‘Our public transport plan means letting electric cars use bus lanes would be problematic’, Irish Independent, 30 October 2019.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/our-public-transport-plan-means-letting-electric-cars-use-bus-lanes-would-be-problematic-says-bruton-38644514.html

Accessed 30 October 2019.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), Motorstats.

https://stats.beepbeep.ie/

Accessed 17 November 2019.

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), ‘Electric vehicle grants’.

https://www.seai.ie/grants/electric-vehicle-grants/electric-vehicle-home-charger-grant/

Accessed 30 October 2019.

Graphs produced by Clare O’Beara.

Photo credits: Clare O’Beara.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Clare O'Beara

Environmental journalist, tree surgeon and expert witness, and former national standard showjumper. Author of 18 books of crime, science fiction, YA fiction.