The Nissan Leaf, which retails at around £21,500, is currently the UK’s most popular electric vehicle, with almost 6,000 cars registered by the third quarter of 2014 - a third of all electric vehicle sales.
In addition to the Electric Vehicle Loan, full grant funding is currently available through the ChargePlace Scotland programme for electric car drivers to install a charge point in their home. There are also around 500 public charging points located around Scotland. The loan will be offered in addition to the UK Government’s Plug-in Vehicle Grant, which gives electric vehicle owners £5,000 off their purchase.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “Encouraging mass changeover to electric vehicles, from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel, is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality.”
He added: “Electric vehicles already offer large savings to drivers through reduced fuel and taxation costs and this fund will further encourage new buyers by addressing the current cost premium often cited as a barrier to making the switch. I am pleased we are adding this incentive to the growing package of support measures for EVs outlined in the ‘Switched on Scotland’ policy roadmap.”
Harry Mayers, head of new services at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “We’re seeing an increasing amount of interest in electric cars as the technology develops and the charging infrastructure continues to grow across Scotland. This loan fund from Transport Scotland will help people to turn that interest into action and benefit from the long-term cost savings that electric cars offer.
“Electric cars cost around 3p per mile to run, compared with around 15p per mile for the average petrol car, and incur no road tax. They also help to reduce local air and noise pollution, contributing towards a greener, healthier Scotland.”
Businesses can also apply for an interest-free loan, of up to £100,000 for electric vehicles.
All applications to the fund close on 31 March 2016.