Edinburgh has highest electric vehicles usage in Scotland

Plugged-in drivers across the Capital appear to have embraced electric cars, with Edinburgh boasting the best-used network of charging points anywhere in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

Angela Davis uses a charging point at the City Chambers. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Angela Davis uses a charging point at the City Chambers. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Angela Davis uses a charging point at the City Chambers. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A survey by the RAC Foundation found that there are as many as 1100 electric cars on Scotland’s streets, with the biggest share of those believed to be zooming around the Capital, thanks to the charging facilities.

Low-carbon advocates say that growing interest in green transport has created a snowball effect in Edinburgh, as pressure from public institutions and government inspires more residents to consider buying an electric car.

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Edinburgh sits almost unchallenged at the top of the electric car league table in Scotland, with drivers in other council areas shunning car charging points.

In Glasgow, just 60 per cent of the city’s 42 charging points were used during August 2014, with the same proportion of Dundee’s 40 points being used. In Edinburgh, every one of the 38 charging points across the city was used that month.

Andy Kerr, executive of green energy hub the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, which hosts two charging points of its own, said the Capital is ideal for electric-powered commuting.Mr Kerr said: “There is a critical mass of charging points in and around Edinburgh. More people have had the chance to try electric vehicles out than in many other places.

“Electric vehicles are a classic case where people are a bit nervous about them, they feel a bit different, but once you start driving one, you will tend to use it again. The issue that everyone worries about is how far you can go, but if you’re just driving around Edinburgh or nearby, that’s ideal.

However, Institute of Advanced Motorists policy chief Neil Greig said the city’s civil servants were behind the green push. “Edinburgh has a reputation for embracing green initiatives,” he said. “Cycling is very popular, and transport policies are geared towards green travel.

“Equally, there are a lot of civil servants in Edinburgh, and my understanding is that the most popular charging point is at Victoria Quay. Clearly the Scottish Government is putting out a message, and the people most likely to respond to that message are the people who work for the government.”

Many of the Capital’s public charging points are run by the council or public institutions such as Police Scotland, NHS Lothian or the city’s universities and colleges.

City transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “I’m sure this trend will continue as more people discover the environmental benefits and cheaper running costs of electric cars.”