The Scottish Government has published a new draft vision for public electric vehicle charging in Scotland and announced a new fund of up to £60 million for local authorities – a step which could double the size of the network.
According to Transport Scotland, the new vision “places people and businesses first, outlining the accessible, affordable and reliable public network required for the future”.
Building on existing provision and seeking to deliver more of the right chargers in the right places, a new public electric vehicle charging fund will be launched in Scotland which seeks to attract investment from the private sector. This fund will provide up to £60m to councils over the next four years with approximately half of this funding anticipated to be invested from the private sector. This step has the potential to double the size of the public charging network in Scotland.
During a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson introduced the new draft vision and explained how it relates to wider policies, including the commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030. To speed up new strategies and help better identify charge point requirements across Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary also announced £350,000 to support six pathfinder projects across Scotland.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said: “I’m pleased to outline a new vision for the public electric vehicle charging network. Even though we prioritise funding in active travel and sustainable public transport, cars and vans will still have a role to play and particularly in rural areas. To meet our climate targets, we need these vehicles to be electric, and so we require a seamless network of public electric vehicle chargers, that works for everyone, all of the time.
“Our draft vision provides a clear picture of what electric vehicle charging networks must deliver for drivers across Scotland, and our priorities for achieving those changes. We need a just transition, where accessibility, availability and reliability is key and where no one is left behind from the positive shift to zero emission transport system – including rural and island communities.
“We have invested over £50 million to create a network with over 2,100 public charge points across Scotland. With demand for electric vehicles rapidly increasing thanks to government incentives and support – public and private sector partnerships will now be key in attracting investment and scaling provision at pace. The £60m Public Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund will draw in and smooth commercial investment so that the future charging network works for everyone, while at the same time potentially doubling the size of our public network here in Scotland.
“I understand the concerns people have raised around the potential for charging infrastructure impeding pedestrian access to pavements and their ability to move around freely. We can do things better. And I am pleased to confirm that we will soon begin working with design specialists at V&A Dundee to plan a public network that works for all. This ground breaking approach will see people’s diverse needs and interests shape the future network.”
Neil Swanson from the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland said: “The shift from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles is going to be one of the largest examples of public or private policy implementation of the next decade.
“Electric vehicle drivers’ associations play an instrumental role in providing a support network for individuals using electric modes of transport and promoting the benefits of the electrification of transport for our environment, our health and our economy.
“Supporting the Scottish Government towards net zero carbon emissions and the incredible work pioneered by local authorities is our main objective and what we will continue to do.
“We warmly welcome the publication of the draft Vision that puts everyone front and centre of a public electric vehicle charging network that’s fit for the future. The network needs to continue to grow in a way that ensures no part of Scotland is left behind and we will continue to engage with government on how this draft vision can best be realised for the benefit of EV drivers across Scotland.”
The new vision for Scotland’s public electric vehicle charging network can be found on the Transport Scotland website.
Further information on how the Scottish Government is working to decarbonise road transport is available on the Transport Scotland website – www.transport.gov.scot/missionzero
Gill Nowell, who is a member of the Transport + Energy editorial board and Head of EV at LV= General Insurance and ElectriX, commented: “We welcome today’s announcement from the Scottish Government on its new draft vision for public charging in Scotland. Putting people at the heart of this vision is paramount. Public charging needs to be accessible, affordable, installed in the right places and at the right speeds to meet the needs of all drivers. The Scottish Government and industry stakeholders need to work together with communities to look at the safety aspect of where charge points are installed so that they are safe to use at night, and aren’t in places which force people to compromise their safety in order to avoid running out of charge.”
Image courtesy of Transport Scotland.