Four Irish SMEs win funding to develop innovative communal electric vehicle charging solutionsThe Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and ESB, has announced the winners of Ireland’s first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competition. Four successful businesses, Carra, EC Charging, Electro Automation and Smartcharge Ltd, will each receive €25,000 to provide evidence for the viability of their smart solutions for charging Electric Vehicles (EVs) in communal parking areas such as apartment blocks. Up to €200,000 will be made available on a phased basis from feasibility to prototype demonstration.

Currently EV owners can have home charge points installed for free in their private driveways by ESB but limitations exist for apartments with shared parking areas where residents don’t have direct access to their own electricity supply. The solutions proposed will be adaptable to cater for underground, multi-storey or other privately run car park developments where EV owners may require access to charging facilities. This SBIR competition will support the development of this technology for Ireland and the growing international EV market.

Commenting Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI said: “As we accelerate towards a more sustainable energy future, we are continuously seeking innovative technologies which offer a better way of doing things. As well as supporting enterprise and innovation, this competition will help develop cleaner transport solutions for Ireland allowing us to make fuller use of our abundant renewable resources.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, added: “Enterprise Ireland is excited to work with SEAI and ESB on this innovative initiative. We congratulate the winners of this small business initiative and look forward to seeing the outputs of this feasibility phase. Innovation is at the heart of gaining competitive advantage in global markets and central to our ability to create and sustain jobs in Ireland.”

Pat O’Doherty, CEO ESB said: “The electrification of transport is one of the key building blocks for bringing about a decarbonised society. Today’s announcement demonstrates how through this innovative competition structure, we can directly access the brain power and enterprise of Irish SMEs to solve challenges that the EV sector is experiencing globally.”

The companies have six months to develop their solution to pre-prototype stage, after which up to two will be selected for further funding (up to €100,000) to build their pre-commercial prototypes.

Full details on the competition are available on www.seai.ie.