The Northern Ireland eCar Project originated from the ‘Plugged in Places’ (PIP) initiative, which was launched on the 19 of November 2009 by OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles).The eCar Phase 1 Project successfully delivered on its 3-year funding requirements, by installing 320 no. 22kW charge points at 160 locations throughout NI, and 14 no. 50kW DC rapid charge points. A charge point management system (CPMS) was also delivered which records charge point usage data and has the functionality to deliver a payment system in the future. Within the CPMS a supplier portal was created to allow remote access to the charge points to remotely resolve charge point faults. A customer service helpline was also created and processes were put in place to deal with on-going operational and maintenance queries from eCar drivers.
In order to advance eCar to its next phase a new Project is required. The purpose of ecar Phase 2 is to advance the commercialisation of the current ecar infrastructure, to continue the operation of the network and to provide continued support to the innovation and development of the growing ultra low emission vehicle sector within Northern Ireland. eCar NI has successfully secured funding from OLEV to provide grants to Public Sector organisations, across Northern Ireland, to allow them to install Charge Points on their estate. This funding is only available until 31 March 2015. The organisations will identify suitable locations, ensuring sufficient connectivity, earthing, and power supply and carrying out any civil works necessary before requiring the Contractor to supply, fit, connect and commission a Charge Point.
A procurement competition is required to appoint a suitable contractor to install the eCar charging points. The contract can be used by all public bodies (including Local Councils).