LEADERS of the Scottish electric vehicle community have welcomed official plans to boost the charging infrastructure.
Holyrood Transport Secretary Michael Matheson unveiled a new Government/private sector public charging network fund on Wednesday.
It is hoped the initiative will give councils up to £60million over four years, providing the potential to double the size of the Scottish system.
Electric Vehicle Association Scotland director Neil Swanson said: “We warmly welcome the plans that put everyone front and center 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 vision can best be realized for the benefit of EV drivers nationwide.”
The Government move comes after EVA Scotland carried out a major survey into what its members and potential owners viewed as important factors on the electrification journey.
Respondents said manufacturers must reduce the cost of buying electric vehicles to accelerate the switch away from fossil fuels. And the country’s charge point infrastructure needs to increase swiftly, they stressed.
Mr Swanson said: “Our members want to see a rapid development and sustainable growth of Scotland’s EV charging infrastructure, which EVA Scotland supports, and we are calling on national and local government and the charge point supply industry to respond.”
The 2021-22 review of EVA Scotland members found that 83 per cent said purchase costs were a major factor in choosing an electric vehicle, with 50 per cent wanting to see new EV prices reduced.
The study also revealed that 43 per cent of members wanted to see a quick expansion of the charging infrastructure and were concerned about the lack of facilities in their area.
Asked what influenced them most when considering making the transition to owning an EV, 90 per cent quoted cheaper fuel and 71 per cent said reduced overall running costs was a factor.
Other appealing features included a more enjoyable drive (82 per cent), a quieter drive (87 per cent) and increased acceleration (69 per cent).
A massive 96 per cent said they were very satisfied (78) or satisfied (18) with their EV and 68 per cent were likely or very likely to consider an EV for their next vehicle.
Although battery range was a key factor in choosing their current EV, according to 63 per cent, only 14 per cent thought that EVs were not suitable for long journeys.
Mr Swanson added: “We firmly believe these results show tremendous confidence in the future of all-electric vehicles as the way forward in our global battle against climate change.
“And, if Scotland’s charging infrastructure receives the necessary government support and manufacturers address the current higher costs of buying an EV, the current rate of change from fossil fuel vehicles will accelerate even more.
“The survey clearly shows that electric vehicle drivers across Scotland are unanimous in their commitment to and expectations for the future of EVs as the preferred mode of transportation.”
There are now more than 30,000 licensed vehicles in Scotland classed as ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), with the majority being either pure battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Mr Swanson added: “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.
“EV 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.
“As the voice of electric vehicle drivers in Scotland, EVA Scotland understands the important role the EV community plays in policy decisions.
“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.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.