In June I worked with the FASTER Project team to help steer three focus groups as part of this €6.4 million EU INTERREG VA funded programme to install 73 new publicly accessible rapid charging points across Western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Border Region in the Republic of Ireland to support drivers as they make the switch to electric vehicles.
Each focus group was delivered virtually for project partners and stakeholders across the three partner regions. I shared my experience with electric vehicles, my views on the challenges to widespread uptake of EVs, and the opportunities for better communication and engagement with the public on electric vehicles, before chairing a group discussion to help form a communications strategy for the project.
Led by East Border Region Ltd in partnership with organisations including South West College and Ulster University, Louth County Council and Dundalk IT, the FASTER Project is currently working with several county councils along the border to identify suitable locations for charge points, which will be installed on a rolling basis over the next 6 to 18 months.
While it’s estimated that up to 80% of EV charging will take place at home, the number of public EV chargers is widely regarded as one of the key obstacles for those drivers considering the switch to electric. The FASTER Project will deliver effective solutions to help overcome this barrier and will educate drivers on electric vehicles and the benefits they can bring.
Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, said:
“As the effects of climate change increase dramatically we need to invest seriously in measures which will cut carbon emissions. Electric vehicles represent a more eco-friendly form of transport which will have a reduced impact on the environment.
This new EU-funded project has been specifically designed to remove some of the obstacles that have previously discouraged people from choosing electric vehicles. It also represents one of the core objectives of the INTERREG VA Programme, which supports sustainable transport, on a cross-border basis.”