Keith Brown: Electric vehicles could spark a new motoring revolution

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SCOTLAND has long been at the forefront of world-changing innovation. The Scottish Government now has a world-leading climate change target and we want to see the almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050, with significant progress by 2030 through wholesale adoption of electric cars and vans (EVs).

As well as improving air quality, electric vehicles cut noise pollution and are also cheaper to run.

You can get from Edinburgh to Glasgow on a single charge for about £1.50 and electric vehicles are exempt from road tax.

There are exciting opportunities in the low carbon vehicle sector for innovative Scottish businesses such as Alexander Dennis in Falkirk, Allied Vehicles in Glasgow and Axeon Batteries in Dundee. Academic institutions such as Strathclyde University, Dundee University and Jewel and Esk College are at the forefront of developing and testing new EV technology.

That’s why I am launching a major partnership between the Scottish Government, environmental campaigners and industry leaders to educate motorists on the many benefits of EVs, and to find ways of making them a more realistic option.

Over the past two years, the Scottish Government has invested £8 million in electric vehicles and infrastructure, enabling Scotland’s public services to purchase about 270 low-carbon vehicles.

Plugged-in Places Scotland, the scheme to install EV charging points, has been expanded from the original Central Belt target area to the whole country.

The project installed 74 points in 2010-2011, 240 more will be installed in 2011-2012, and 170 in 2012-2013, in households, workplaces and publicly accessible locations – and to connect our cities.

Transport Scotland funds a low carbon loan scheme operated by the Energy Saving Trust, providing interest free loans of £500-£50,000 to organisations that want to replace their transport with more carbon and fuel efficient alternatives.

We are at the start of what I hope will be a revolution in motoring.

• Keith Brown, minister for housing and transport, is a speaker at The EVent on Wednesday. For more information, visit: