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Scottish government unveils £7.5 million ‘groundbreaking’ EV infrastructure pilot

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The Scottish government has thrown its weight behind a £7.5 million project to ramp up EV charge point installs in the country.

The partnership will bring together Transport Scotland and Scotland’s two distribution network operators – SP Energy Networks (SPEN) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) – in a bid to deliver more EV charging points.

SSEN is to examine the necessary electricity network infrastructure to support more electric vehicles on the road, taking a particular interest in the infrastructure needed for new charging points set to be installed along the A9; a critical route running from Edinburgh to the north of Scotland.

SPEN meanwhile is to work on opening additional, publicly-accessible EV charging points integrated on its network. A pilot project is to look into ways of increasing the pace, accessibility and efficiency of public charger installation.

The Scottish government is to contribute £5 million of funding for the programmes, matched by an additional £2.5 million of funding from both SPEN and SSEN, with projects set to go live in 2020/21.

The project was unveiled at an event held at University of Strathclyde’s power networks demonstration centre, which was also attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon spoke of the “critical role” networks have to play in facilitating an “electric vehicle revolution”.

“This project will develop a new model for delivering both EV charging and electricity network infrastructure which can more effectively satisfy Scotland’s ambitions, including delivering inclusive universal access to the benefits of the decarbonisation of transport.”

Scotland’s target of phasing out the sale of new conventional-fuelled vehicles by 2032 is more ambitious than England’s, placing greater importance and timeliness on the country’s EV infrastructure being up to scratch.

Frank Mitchell, chief executive at SPEN, said the “ground breaking” pilot project would support that transition and ensure that every community in Scotland had equal access to charging points.

“This strategic partnership will allow us to efficiently join the dots between renewable electricity generation, the distribution network, and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to make sure all drivers across Scotland have equal access to our electric future,” he added.

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