Electric car chargers spread across Scotland as pumps dwindle

Plug-in points will replace pumps in some villages. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

The number of rural petrol stations is about to be overtaken by electric chargers, with plug-in points replacing pumps in some villages.

There are more than 550 charging points across Scotland but fewer than 700 non-supermarket filling stations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There were virtually no chargers five years ago, while petrol forecourts have declined by a quarter over the last decade.The Petrol Retailers Association said one third of independent filling stations, many rural, had closed.

By contrast, the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland (Evas) said the number of rapid chargers, which take around 20 minutes, had doubled in the last year alone to around 150.

Carplus, which promotes car-sharing clubs, said one in five of their vehicles were electric – the highest in the UK.

Spokeswoman Beate Kubitz said: “Many rural filling stations have disappeared, so people living in remote areas have to plan and make detours to fill up with petrol and diesel.

“The charge point network is growing rapidly and makes driving an electric car longer distances possible.”

Evas chair Douglas Robertson said that on a trip to Argyll last summer he had to stop to charge his car for two-and-a-half hours because there were no rapid chargers between Perth and Tayvallich. There are now seven on the route.

Areas now bereft of petrol which now have chargers include Torridon in the West Highlands and Tomintoul in Moray. The Torridon luxury hotel has a charger which any driver can use free, and two Tesla supercar chargers for guests.

Co-owner Dan Rose-Bristow said: “We stopped selling petrol around ten years ago as the price was too prohibitive and maintenance of the equipment was too expensive.

“We have seen good use of the chargers and a very positive response.”

Transport Scotland, which plans to rid the country of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2050, said its funding for chargers had helped accelerate electric car use, with 1,278 cars sold last year - more than in the previous four combined.