EC Charging has become the first Irish manufacturer of electric car charging stations after spotting a gap in the market, and has the UK and Norway firmly in its sights, writes Trish Dromey.
Driven to succeed in electric car market believing in the future of the electric car, Dublin Company EC Charging has become the first Irish manufacturer of electric charging stations.
Having already supplied a number of electric car charging stations -to the ESB for installation around Ireland, it has now secured contracts in the UK and is currently starting to export.
EC Charging is focusing its efforts this year on developing the UK market and will also be turning its attention to Norway, which currently has more than 10,000 electric cars, the highest number per capita in the world. The company expects that breakthrough on battery technology, a reduction in electric vehicle prices and nationwide rollout of charging infrastructure will lead to electric cars being much more widely used within the next few years.
According to Ms Keady the electric vehicle market is presently being driven by the need to bring down CO2 emissions as well as concerns about air quality and rising oil prices.
She was working in the parking industry supplying parking equipment to local authorities when she learned through Enterprise Ireland that the ESB was looking for companies to provide electric charging stations.
Identifying similarities between the supply of parking equipment to local authorities and one providing charging stations to utility companies and local authorities. She began researching the electric vehicle industry.
EC Charging came into being in 2011, the year after the ESB announced plans to install 1,500 charging stations nationwide.
“Charging stations weren’t being manufactured in Ireland and were being imported from the UK and Germany – we saw a gap for an Irish producer,” says Ms Keady.
In 2011 EC Charging began developing the first Irish-built electric vehicle charging station based on requirements laid down by ESB Ecars charging station specification.
Once EC Charging had developed its first charging unit it secured a contract with the ESB.
“Since January 2013 we have supplied a substantial number of units which are being used nationwide” says Ms Keady. She says there are now more than 600 electric cars in the country and the Government has set a target of making 10% of all cars electric by 2020.
Located at Baldonnel Business Park, the company now employs a staff of six, manufacturing, Installing and maintaining charging units as well as supplying a back office communication system.
While the ESB is currently the main buyer of charging stations the company sees the potential to sell to hotels, hospitals, shopping centres and universities both here and in other markets.
The venture has been supported by Enterprise Ireland which has identified it as a high potential rl start-up in 2013.
EC Charging has not turned its attention to the UK, a much larger market where significant funding has been put in place for charging stations by the government.
Launching at a Low carbon vehicle event in the UK in September the company has since joined the electric vehicle equipment supply association in the UK.
The trade event led to the first contracts with local authorities in the UK and the company is now pursuing contracts in several UK locations. EC Charging is now formulating plans to enter the Norwegian market at the end of the year, possibly in conjunction with a partner.
As well working on developing exports to the UK and Norwegian markets the company is also making plans for further development of its product line and intends to produce a variety of different charging units suitable for different locations and users.
“The Norwegian market requires electric vehicle chargers which functions in temperatures of minus 40,” says Ms Keady who has paid several visits to Norway and had discussions with a number of utility companies there.
Through developing sales to the UK EC Charging expects to see 50% growth in turnover this year and to have grown the staff size to 10. EC Charging is confident that the electric vehicle industry is now maturing, driven by the need to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality. Noting that prices of electric cars have come into line with combustion engine cars Ms Keady says that over time electric cars will become mainstream on our roads.
Company: EC Charging.
Location: Baldonnel, Co Dublin.
CEO: Therese Keady.
Product: Charging stations for electric cars.
Markets: lreland, UK and Norway.