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Scottish government pledges to roll out 1,500 electric vehicle chargers

Image: Jim Barton.

Image: Jim Barton.

The Scottish government is to invest £15 million in the deployment of 1,500 electric vehicle (EV) charge points across homes, businesses and the public network under plans outlined officially today (4 September 2018).

First minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her Programme for Government this afternoon, which included measures designed to ensure Scotland reaches its 2032 target of phasing out petrol and diesel cars.

The new investment will fund 150 publically available EV chargers which could be located across the 356 fire stations in Scotland under plans being considered by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). The emergency service is also planning to introduce up to 100 ultra-low emission plug-in vehicles to its light fleet.

The remaining chargers will be set for private locations and communities. The EV push will see the launch of ‘Plugged-In Households’, intended to widen access to electric vehicles for communities, including through housing associations and car clubs.

“In last year’s Programme for Government we committed to remove the need for petrol and diesel cars and vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032. Electrifying the road network and transforming the way we travel is vital to reducing our carbon emission, tackling climate change and improving air quality,” Sturgeon said.

“This year we want to go further still, and through the package of support we’re announcing in this year’s Programme for Government, as well as our continued investment of £1 billion a year in low carbon and public transport, more people will be able to play their part in putting Scotland at the forefront of low carbon travel.”

Holyrood will also be more than doubling the Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund from £8 million to £20 million to enable more businesses and consumers to switch to EVs. To date the scheme has supported around 500 ULEV purchases; with another 450 forecast to be supported in 2018-19 with this increased funding.

More than 500 ultra low emission vehicles will also be added to public sector fleets, while a ‘Switched on Taxis’ initiative will be established to include a new fund for electrifying taxi ranks.

'A step-change in electric vehicle uptake'

The Scottish government also plans to establish 20 ‘electric towns’ across Scotland by 2025 under a new Switched on Towns and Cities Challenge Fund.

Run as an annual competition, the fund is intended to facilitate greater uptake of plug-in EVs in Scotland’s towns and cities by supporting high capital cost projects, awarding between £1.5 million to £2.5 million per project.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson told Current±: Acting as exemplars, electric towns and cities will receive substantial funding for transformative local action to support a step-change in electric vehicle uptake.

“We will continue to work with all 32 Scottish local authorities and the Energy Saving Trust to install these additional charge points, further building on our already comprehensive network, and creating the infrastructure to allow electric vehicles to flourish.”

“Through continued investment, and work to encourage communities to embrace the social change required, we can make our towns and cities more desirable places to live and work in, and develop a sustainable future for younger generations,” Sturgeon said.

A consultation will also be launched over the coming year to establish the preferred model for the public not-for-profit energy company announced by Sturgeon less than a year ago.

This was pledged to be in place by 2021 to support the government's efforts to tackle both climate change and fuel poverty.

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