Ohme won the Chargepoint Manufacturer of the Year award at the inaugural Electric Vehicle Awards at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin on the evening of Wednesday 6 March.

The award recognised Ohme’s unique software and technology which helps not only to balance supply and demand of electricity for energy suppliers, but also to reduce running costs for those driving an EV.

“Winning this award is a great recognition of all the hard work of everyone at Ohme and our ongoing commitment to EV drivers and our business partners here in Ireland,” said Ohme CEO David Watson. “The awards are a fantastic way to acknowledge this fast-expanding industry as more and more drivers and businesses make the switch to e-mobility in all its forms.”

Based in Cork, Ohme is the official charging partner for the Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars and Polestar in Ireland.

With no engine noise, why do electric vehicles need special consideration for their stereos?

It sounds like the start of a joke from a stand-up comedian: did you hear the one about the electric car that was too quiet?

But car manufacturers and their stereo suppliers certainly aren’t laughing with the new technical aural challenges that EVs bring.

It’s stating the obvious, but electric cars don’t have a combustion engine under the bonnet. Therefore, you’d imagine because of that, compared to a petrol or diesel car, it should be a lot easier to develop a stereo for them, right? Wrong. The new all-electric Kia EV9 which arrives into showrooms this spring will feature one of the first sound systems developed specifically for the unique audio characteristics of a pure electric car.

Kia EV9 Meridian speaker

Developed by Meridian, the EV9’s stereo is a new 14-speaker sound system that uses a number of digital technologies optimised for the challenging acoustic environment of an electric car. The idea of a car that produces no noise being a ‘challenging’ environment for a car stereo may sound a little strange, but it’s to do with the type of noise rather than the level of it.

“The challenge with producing a fantastic audio experience in an EV isn’t the level of the background noise, it’s the complexity of noise sources and their frequency profiles,” said John Buchanan, Meridian Audio chief executive. “These are typically at significantly higher frequencies than in a combustion vehicle, which can affect our ability to perceive the position of sounds and they can be more random, which makes the acoustic environmental more difficult to manage with active noise cancellation.”

In short, the noises that the engines in a traditional petrol or diesel car make are more consistent and easier to manage than those in an EV. The firing of an internal combustion engine is at a lower frequency and therefore manufacturers can use active noise cancellation to balance that out. The new Range Rover even uses active noise cancellation through its headrests.

Kia EV9 interior

By comparison, while an electric car might not have an engine to cancel the noise from, those higher frequencies in an EV mentioned by John Buchanan are significantly harder for a stereo manufacturer to deal with. Moreover, those higher frequencies can also interfere with the quality of surround sound in an EV – almost like the difference between listening to something in mono or stereo.

Which is where all the hard work from Meridian comes in. By switching their focus from the hardware to software, Meridian’s engineers were able to manage the acoustic environment through processing their software to tailor the sound. Put simply, in years gone by, they would tailor the sound of a car stereo using special speakers and their location within the car, while now they’re able to do that electronically.

And, while this technology has only just been fitted to the new Kia EV9, inevitably similar tech will trickle down to more electric vehicles over the course of time which will gain similar stereo systems. We can’t wait.

The first deliveries of the new Kia EV9 take place this spring with prices starting from €77,500.

2024 will see lots of new electric cars arriving in showrooms, here’s our top ten EVs that will be arriving to UK roads over the next twelve months:

Citroen e-C3

On sale: spring

Citroen claims that the new e-C3 is the first European affordable electric car and it’s hard not to agree. With its small, chunky, purposeful looks, the baby Citroen will feature a 44kWh battery pack with a 199-mile range making it perfect for urban driving and beyond while wearing a price tag that’s likely to be less than £23,000.

Elsewhere in Europe, there is even a 124-mile version at less than €20,000 though this version is yet to be confirmed for the UK. Citroen’s logic and thinking is simple though – the e-C3 is a largely urban car that will be driven for short distances (Citroen estimates an average of less than 50 miles a day) and therefore doesn’t need the extra weight, range and, crucially, cost that comes with a larger battery.

Fiat 600e

On sale: early 2024

Following on from the success of the smaller Fiat 500e, the 600e is its big brother with a 51kWh battery and a 250 mile range. With a strong family resemblance, the 600e features more space and practicality, but has the muscle to back up those looks with a 100kW fast charger system that has the ability to get from 20 to 80% state of charge in less than half an hour.

Better yet, there’s also an electric tailgate (which are usually fitted to much more expensive cars) and a Tom Tom navigation system that displays all the charging stations available on your route and will even given real-time information on free parking spaces on public roads.

Blue Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

On sale: spring

If you thought that the retro-looks of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 were cool before, then just check out this hot hatch N version. With the equivalent of up to 641bhp from its 84kWh battery, the new Ioniq 5 N is capable of the 0 to 60mph sprint in a staggering 3.4 seconds along with a 161mph top speed.

There are plenty of changes to make the car appeal to keen drivers too with changes to its steering, brakes and suspension, a drift mode and even an Active Sound system to simulate the sound of a petrol engine or even a jet fighter! The Ioniq 5 N also gets a sporty body kit and 21-inch alloy wheels, with new bucket seats and trim inside. Everyday EVs don’t get much more exciting than this!

Red MG Cyberster

MG Cyberster

On sale: summer

Make no mistake, MG has been one of the hottest brands of 2023 with much of that due to the success of its EV models, especially the MG4 and MG5. MG’s new car sales this year are up by more than 50% and 2024 is unlikely see that tailing off anytime soon. Part of the reason for that will be this, the stunning MG Cyberster.

A two-seater EV roadster, the MG Cyberster has already been awarded by Carwow as its most anticipated new car of 2024. The order books will be opening in early summer with the first deliveries due a few months later, making it the perfect car to enjoy some late summer sun.

Blue Peugeot E-3008

Peugeot E-3008

On sale: February

More than 1.3 million 3008s have left Peugeot showrooms in the past seven years making it one of the French firm’s most successful models. This all-electric E-3008 is sure to continue that with a choice two battery sizes, either 73kWh or 98kWh, and a range of up to 435 miles.

The E-3008 will also feature Peugeot’s amazing new i-cockpit which has a floating panoramic display as well as customisable ambient LED lighting. It will also come with an 11kW three-phase onboard charger and be available in two or four-wheel drive versions.

Brown Polestar 4 Electric

Polestar 4

On sale: early 2024

Polestar is all set for a bumper 2024. Not only does it have the 3 SUV arriving to UK roads, but there’s also this, the gorgeous Polestar 4. On paper, the idea of an SUV Coupe shouldn’t work, but in practice we think it looks stunning.

Despite its name, the 4 will actually sit between the 2 and 3 in terms of size, but it will have a 102kWh battery, a target range of up to 372 miles and feature Polestar’s latest Snapdragon Cockpit Platform with a large 15.4-inch landscape-oriented screen in the centre of the dashboard.

Perhaps the most surprising design feature however will be the lack of a rear windscreen. A panoramic roof will allow plenty of light to enter the cabin, while a rear-facing camera will project the view behind onto a screen where the rear view mirror traditionally sits.

Red Renault Scenic Electric

Renault Scenic E-Tech

On sale: May

For almost 30 years, the Renault Scenic has been providing drivers with practical, family transport. This latest generation Scenic will be doing that, with two crucial new changes. The first is that it’s now an SUV and the second is that it’s now electric too.

The new Scenic will get an 87kWh battery capable of a 379 mile range, but it still boasts the practicality of its predecessors with clever storage solutions throughout and a total of 38 litres of storage in the cabin. There’s even a panoramic sunroof that you can change the opacity of the glass one section at a time. The Scenic’s interior is also packed with recycled materials underlying the Renault’s sustainability.

Volkswagen ID 7 Electric

Volkswagen ID.7

On sale: January

The Volkswagen ID range of electric models is already one of the most extensive on the EV market and this new ID.7 might just be one of the most crucial yet.

A family saloon that’s slightly larger than the popular Passat, the ID7 will eventually come in both saloon and Sport Tourer estate versions and offer a range of up to 435 miles with a choice of two different battery sizes. The ID.7 will boast special aerodynamics for improved efficiency as well as a host of luxury equipment including smart air conditioning and a panoramic sunroof with glass that can be switched between opaque and transparent by touch control.

Volkswagen ID Buzz Long-Wheelbase

Volkswagen ID. Buzz long-wheelbase

On sale: summer

Is the Volkswagen ID. Buzz one of the coolest-looking EVs on the road today? Well it’s about to get even more so in 2024 with the arrival of this, the long-wheelbase version.

At 25cm longer than the standard model, this longer ID. Buzz gets a third row of seats giving it room for seven as well as more luggage space and a new 85kWh battery. That means more range and more practicality, while there’s also a new head-up display, next-generation infotainment system and remote parking via your smartphone. Even better, there will be a four-wheel drive GTX model too.

Silver Volvo EX30 Electric

Volvo EX30

On sale: March

Need a small electric SUV with a price tag under £40,000? Then welcome to the new Volvo EX30. As its name suggests, it sits below the XC40 in the Volvo range and has already been crowned as Car of the Year by both Carwow and The Sun in their respective end of year awards.

With a range of up to 298 miles and two battery options (either 49kWh or 64kWh), the EX30 will boast sleek looks alongside good equipment levels and incredible performance with a 0 to 60mph time of just 3.6 seconds.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car? It’s a question that’s being asked more and more, especially with the fluctuating electricity prices of late.

Whether you’re charging at home, at work or on public chargers, it’s almost always be cheaper to charge an electric car than the equivalent of filling an equivalent car with petrol. And, better yet, unlike with petrol prices, with your home electricity rates, it’s surprisingly easy to reduce those costs yourself.

Here, we’ll look at the costs of charging an electric car both at home and at public charge points out on the road and show you how to save money at both of them.

How much does it cost to charge my electric car at home?

The simple answer to this is that it depends on your home electricity tariff and how much you pay per kWh. 

So, let’s do some simple calculations to show you how much it costs to charge your electric car and how you might be able to save some money when charging your electric car. The average Irish driver covers 10,000 kilometres a year which, in a typical petrol car, would cost more €1170.

By comparison, in a typical electric car, at the Standard Tariff of 48.24c/kWh, those same 10,000 kilometres in an EV would cost €753 for the entire year.

How can I lower the costs of charging my electric car at home?

So, we’ve already seen that there’s a big saving between petrol and charging your car at home. The good news though is that, unlike a petrol car, you can have a big influence on how much you pay through the numerous off-peak electricity tariffs on the market from the likes of SSE Airtricity and Energia.

So if you switched your home charging to an off-peak electricity tariff such as SSE Night Boost (at just 12.42c/kWh), then those same 10,000 kilometres we used as an example before would cost just €194.06.

Where can I charge my electric car on the road?

At the time of writing, there are around 5000 electric car public charging points in Ireland.

Most modern electric cars will have a ‘find a charger’ function within their sat nav systems and some even enable you to plot your route according to your remaining range. However, probably the easiest way of checking is via the Zap Map website and app.

Zap Map is a simple map that enables you zoom in on certain areas and easily see the various types of charger on offer via a colour-coding system. Yellow are 3kW chargers, blue are 7kW fast chargers and purple are rapid charging points that are usually 43kW and above.

What do the different charging speeds mean at a public charging point?

Put simply, the higher the kW charger, then the faster your car will charge – up to a limit. Different EVs have limits to their charging capability, so a Vauxhall Corsa Electric can charge at up to 100kW, while a Porsche Taycan can charge at 225kW. You can still plug in to more powerful chargers, but they just won’t charge any faster.

Also, no matter what the car, that charging speed will slow once the battery is above 80 per cent level of charge, which helps to protect the lifespan of the battery. Rapid chargers of 50kW and above are harder to find than the slower chargers, but the irish network of rapid and ultra-rapid charging points of 100kW and above is growing quickly.

Do I need to use my own charging cable at a public charging point?

It depends on which charging point you’re planning on using. Fast chargers of up to 7kW tend to be ‘untethered’ which means it’s just a socket and you’ll need to use your own cable. For rapid charging points though, they tend to be ‘tethered’ with the lead attached to the machine itself.

The CCS rapid charging points of 50kW and above use the secondary ‘bulge’ on the bottom of your socket which has the shape of a flattened figure of eight. Either way, it’s no bad thing to keep your charging cable in the boot of your car anyway, just in case.

How do I charge my electric car at a public charging point?

First you need to check the charger is working and this is where the Zap Map app is so useful. For each charging location it will show you the details of the site, the pricing structure (more on this later), whether it’s working and, crucially, any notes from past users. Users can also ‘check in’ to certain chargers meaning that you can also see if they’re being used in real time.

It’s worth doing this homework before you get there to save you a wasted journey. Those notes from previous users are also invaluable as the charger might be broken or not delivering the correct level of charge that you need.

Do I need to download the charging company’s app beforehand?

Until recently, the answer would have been a definite yes to download the app, but now it’s not always necessary. Again, check the Zap Map app, but many chargers now offer contactless payment, so that you can simply plug in and tap your card to pay.

Having said that though, opening an account isn’t a bad idea for one main reason – price. Many charging point providers offer different tier levels of pricing per kWh. Turning up and paying by contactless is one price, charging via the firm’s own app is slightly cheaper and having a subscription account can be cheaper again.

It does mean you pre-loading an account with the respective company with money, but the savings can soon add up. The same goes for paying a regular subscription fee which as we said is cheaper still, but can be beneficial if you’re regularly using one particular firm’s chargers.

Do all electric car public charging points cost the same?

In short, no. Like petrol stations on motorway service stations, the more convenient the charging point is, then often the more expensive it will be. The same goes for the speed of the charger too. Usually the faster the charger is, then the more expensive it will be.

So a 50kW or 100kW charger will often be more expensive than a 7kW one, put simply you’re paying for the speed. It pays for you to know what the fastest speed is that your car can charge at, as there’s no point in paying for a higher speed that you can’t fully use.

How can I save money by having an account with a public charger provider?

As mentioned earlier, if you have an account with a public charger provider, then it can sometimes mean that you can pay a lower price per kW for your charging. It might not look like you save much money, but it can soon mount up – just a few pence might pay for that coffee that you buy while you’re charging.

Also, if you don’t have an account then those differences can be a lot more than just a few pence. With some providers, having a subscription account where you pay a set monthly fee, can see the price rate drop by more than half. So if you regularly use a particular brand of charger, then it’s definitely worth looking into.

Compared to shopping around for petrol prices, when you’re charging an EV at a public charger, a little bit of forward planning can soon pay off.

What are off-peak smart electricity home tariffs and how do they work?

For current electric car drivers, 80 per cent of their charging happens at work or at home. The main advantage to charging at home is that your home will almost always be the cheapest place to charge.

Numerous electricity providers such as SSE Airtricity and Energia now offer off-peak EV tariffs for overnight charging. These can see your electricity tariff dramatically drop overnight, significantly reducing your charging cost.

At present, the standard tariff with SSE is 48.24c per kWh, so a Volkswagen ID5 with a 77kW battery would cost 77 x 48.24c for a full charge – ie €37.15.

However, if you have one of those off-peak EV tariffs, then the price can be as low as 12.42c/kWh overnight with SSE’s Night Boost. At that lower rate, if you did all of your charging at that lower rate over several evenings then charging that same Volkswagen ID5 from zero to 100 per cent would cost just €9.56 – a huge saving on the standard tariff.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

How much does it cost to charge an electric car? It’s a question that’s being asked more and more, especially with recent fluctuating electricity prices.

The simple answer is that it depends on your home electricity tariff and how much you pay per kWh. The good news though is that, unlike a petrol car, you can have a huge influence on how much you pay through the numerous off-peak electricity tariffs on the market from the likes of SSE Airtricity and Energia.

So, let’s do some basic maths to show you the effect you might be able to have on the running costs of your EV. The average Irish driver covers 10,000 kilometres a year which, in a typical petrol car, would cost around €1170.

By comparison, in a typical EV, at SSE’s Standard Tariff of 48.24c/kWh from 1st July, those same 10,000 kilometres would cost €753 for the entire year. However, if you switched your home charging to an off-peak tariff such as SSE’s Night Boost (at just 12.42c/kWh) and managed to only charge during those hours (which many Ohme customers do) then those same 10,000 kilometres would cost just €194.06.

What is regenerative braking on an electric car?

You might hear a lot of talk about regenerative braking when it comes to electric cars, but what is it and how does it work?

As its name suggests, regenerative braking uses the forward momentum of the car when you lift off the accelerator to recharge the on-board batteries. It turns that momentum back into electrical energy that is fed back into the car’s batteries for later use. And, like an old bicycle with wheel-driven dynamo lights, when you stop moving, so the regenerative braking ends.

In most electric cars, you can also tailor the strength of that regenerative braking to suit your own preference or the roads you’re driving on. Sometimes this can be a very light setting, occasionally referred to as a ‘sailing’ or ‘coasting’ mode which minimises any rolling friction and maximises your free-wheeling ability. This is sometimes preferable on faster roads.

On the highest levels though, this can bring the car to a halt with a strength equivalent to pressing the brake pedal quite hard. The advantage of this is that you can often learn to drive an EV almost entirely in this mode by adapting the pressure on the throttle pedal with your right foot, often referred to as ‘one-pedal driving’ and barely using the brake pedal.

The force of the regenerative braking in these higher levels can be so forceful and so sudden that most cars will also activate the rear brake lights to warn drivers behind you that the car is braking.

Where some electric cars vary is that these regenerative braking levels can be adapted either as a simple on/off switch to multiple different levels. Some of the latest EVs take it one step further by adding a further ‘automatic’ mode to the regenerative braking. So, the driver can choose a strength level or the car can do it for you using forward-facing cruise control radar and information from the sat nav to decide on how strong your regenerative braking should be.

The other issue to bear in mind is when the battery is fully-charged on some plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars. Then the regenerative braking often won’t offer the same stopping power as the battery is already full, meaning you have to rely on the traditional brakes.

Some trip computers can even show you how much energy or ‘free’ kilometres you’ve gained through regenerative braking over a period of time. And while the battery charge and the electrical energy gained from regenerative braking is fairly minimal, it’s still nice to know that you’re effectively getting some ‘free’ motoring kilometres as a result. Regenerative braking shows that there is such a thing as a free lunch after all.

How far do electric cars go between charges? 

Unfortunately, asking how far an EV can travel between charging, is a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question. An EV’s range depends on a number of things, but the two main ones are the size of the battery and the car’s efficiency, usually measured in kilometres per kWh.

While the officially claimed WLTP range is a good guide, the reality is that it can be hard to match that during real-world driving.

Instead, reckon on an average efficiency of 4.8-6.4 kms per kWh with some smaller EVs managing more than that and sportier or larger models covering less. If you then multiply that by the car’s battery size, then you’ll get the real-world range.

There’s a caveat to that though, which is that some of the car’s onboard equipment and the outside temperature will also have an effect on your range. Batteries don’t like cold temperatures and your fully-charged range will drop during the winter months. Heat pumps, an option on some electric cars, can help to prevent this by keeping the battery within its working temperature range.

Of course, it also doesn’t help that during that colder weather, you’re more likely to use the car’s heater too. If you have them, heated seats and a heated steering wheel are often a more efficient way of heating those inside than the main heater.

It may sound a lot to take in, but the reality is that it doesn’t take long living with an electric car for you to find your way and find out what works and what doesn’t.

What is kilometres/kWh on an EV?

Over the years of driving petrol and diesel cars, we’ve all got used to miles per gallon or litres per 100km as an easy reference to a car’s efficiency.

As we move towards electric cars, obviously that’s no longer possible. While petrol and diesel are sold and referred to in a liquid volume (litres), electricity is measured in kWh, so the efficiency of electric vehicles tends to be measured in kilometres per kWh usually shortened to kms/kWh.

As with petrol or diesel cars, how you drive your electric car can have a dramatic effect on its efficiency and while there are several factors under your control to limit the amount of power you use, others such as the outside temperature or the roads you’re travelling on are often out of your control.

As it suggests, the kilometres per kWh is a measure of the distance your car is averaging for each kWh of energy from the battery. A very general average is around 4.8-5.6, while some more efficient EVs might manage 6.4-8.0 kms/kWh or higher and some performance models or larger SUVs can be lower.

Generally speaking the larger the battery in your car, the longer the range of the car is likely to be. So the 35.5kWh battery in the Honda e is capable of 220 kilometres, while the Volkswagen ID.3 has a 77kWh battery with a 558 kilometre range. But it’s not just a case of putting a larger battery in to extend the range of an electric car. While batteries are getting more efficient, they also add weight and size, so manufacturers have to balance a useable range against the car’s weight. The heavier a car is, the more energy it takes to move that weight.

A larger battery isn’t necessarily more efficient either, which is why that kms/kWh average is a better indicator. So a car with a larger battery that’s less efficient could have the same range as one with a smaller battery that’s more efficient.

As electric cars gain more popularity, there’s no question that we will be become more familiar with kilometres per kWh and it will soon become as second nature as mpg or l/100km for petrol and diesel cars.

What is a tethered charger?

As its name suggests, a tethered charger like our award-winning Ohme Home Pro comes with the charging cable already linked to the charger. It can connect to all Type 2 plug-in electric vehicles and you can choose between a five or eight metre cable.

One advantage of a tethered charger such as the Ohme Home Pro is convenience. The cable is already there so it’s simply a matter of unhooking it to plug in to your car. You don’t need to constantly retrieve a separate cable from your car or home when, say, returning home late at night or in bad weather.

What is an untethered charger?

Our Ohme ePod (pictured above) is sometimes referred to as an ‘untethered’ or ‘universal’ charger. Put simply, this means it doesn’t have the charging cable attached to the charger as with the Home Pro. As well as being slightly more affordable, some prefer an untethered charger for its simpler looks if the charger is in a prominent position on the front of your home.

An untethered charger is compatible with all plug-in electric vehicles (hence the ‘universal’ tag), so while the majority of new electric vehicles have used a Type 2 plug for some time, if you need to charge an older EV, such as a first generation Nissan Leaf or a Mitsubishi Outlander, then an untethered charger might be for you.

The same goes for that length of cable. With an untethered charger, if you need a longer cable to reach your vehicle, then you can buy whatever length you need.