Scottish start-up Electrek Explorer is delivering the pilot Recharge in Nature initiative through a partnership with NatureScot and the Southern Uplands Partnership. Funding support has come from South of Scotland Destination Alliance, Destination Net Zero and South of Scotland Enterprise.
The app will provide information about charging points for electric cars and bikes alongside beauty spots, walks and trails, and areas of natural interest.
Elaine Ford, director at Electrek Explorer, said: “This app shows new ways to engage with nature and explore a beautiful part of the country.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to help promote nature-based tourism, whilst accelerating the transition to low carbon, electric travel in the drive towards net zero.”
The app will help guide people along curated electric car and bike routes. As part of the wider programme, the team is creating a new e-bike “data atlas” in the south of Scotland to improve access and usability along cycle routes. It will highlight businesses and locations that are electric vehicle (EV) and e-bike friendly.
NatureScot strategic planning manager, Simon Brooks said the “pioneering” initiative would promote the area’s natural world in a “new and engaging way”.
He added: “We’re looking forward to seeing people getting out and about, and enjoying all that nature has to offer - whilst addressing the climate emergency through low-carbon travel and nature-based responsible tourism.”
The pilot aims to encourage active travel and make nature sites more accessible to all. It will also connect people with EV-friendly accommodation, local businesses, wildlife hotspots, walks, adventure activities, voluntourism and community groups.
The initiative hopes to minimise “range anxiety” by providing integrated EV information alongside nature-based tourism information and route planning. Ultimately, this will support people in the use of low carbon travel options.
Pip Tabor, partnership manager at the Southern Uplands Partnership, said the organisation had been promoting nature-based tourism and sustainable development for many years.
“This project neatly brings the two together in an innovative way. We are delighted to be involved in helping to realise the idea,” he added.