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Electric car charge points set for Scottish roads

Electric cars will be able to charge every 50 miles under the proposals. Picture: PA

Electric cars will be able to charge every 50 miles under the proposals. Picture: PA

  • by ALASTAIR DALTON
 

ELECTRIC vehicle charging points will be established every 50 miles along major roads under the Scottish Government’s latest attempt to boost green motoring.

• SNP plans to put electric vehicle charging points every 50 miles on Scotland’s major roads

• Opposition parties have attacked the move, saying vehicle costs must be cut

• Patrick Harvie stressed the need for renewable electricity

However, the £2.6 million plan was attacked by opposition parties who said the cost of vehicles must be cut to make them more attractive and ministers were struggling to honour previous pledges.

Scotland has only some 80 public charging points, with none on the mainland north of Forfar, compared to more than 200 in the Newcastle area alone.

The Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency claimed today the country was “set for an ‘electric revolution’ on the roads” from “radical plans” to increase the number of charging points.

These also include the free installation of home charging points, and others at car parks, leisure centres, ferry terminals and offices, including for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.

The agency said the move would “help Scotland to remain at the forefront of climate action and meet its ambition of complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050, in part through the whole scale adoption of low and ultra-low carbon vehicles”.

World-changing innovation

Transport minister Keith Brown said: “Scotland has long been at the forefront of world-changing innovation, be it penicillin or television, and I want to ensure we are leading where the rest of the world will soon follow on electric vehicles.

“I look forward to the day when the only vehicles on Scotland’s roads are electric vehicles, and this funding will be a massive step towards that vision.”

The Scottish Greens said Transport Scotland figures showed there were only 198 electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads among the total 2.7 million licensed vehicles, and ministers had previously pledged to have more than 500 charging points in place by the end of next month.

They said electric vehicles would not offset the planned increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport in the year from March.

Renewable electricity

Transport spokesman Patrick Harvie said: “The SNP are putting their trust in a single future technological marvel when they have options to reduce emissions right now. Electric vehicles are an important part of the mix but they won’t solve the traffic jams that harm our economy, and they won’t deliver the short term CO2 reductions we need to get back on track.

“Electric vehicles can only properly cut our transport emissions if we have much more renewable electricity on the grid and tariffs to encourage owners to charge them at non-peak times.”

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tavish Scott said: “Until more drivers can afford green cars then charging points will only be used by middle-class people whose second car is an electric model.

“The Scottish Government should consider making a real change by making the national concessionary bus scheme conditional on the buses running on green power. That would really change the market and achieve a welcome shift in reducing CO2 emissions.”

The Scottish Conservatives said the announcement came a month after it was revealed that one quarter of the £8m of previous such Scottish Government funding remained unspent by local authorities, one in three of whom had no charging points.

Transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “The lack of investment over many years has harmed consumer confidence to the point where the Scottish Government has missed the boat.

“The problem is, by the time these points are installed, technology may well have moved on, meaning new charging points and batteries would be needed.

“There are many problems on Scotland’s roads which desperately need addressing, and people will wonder if spending more than £2.5 million for the benefit of a tiny fraction of road users is worthwhile.”

 

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