'Pop-up' electric chargers planned for B&Bs to encourage greener tourism

Temporary charging points will be installed at bed and breakfast accommodation to encourage summer visitors to travel by electric vehicle, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has told MSPs.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson officially opening the Falkirk Stadium charging hub with Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn last August

He also said electric car owners who did not have garages or driveways to recharge would be directed to neighbourhood charging “hubs” rather than chargers being installed on streets.

Mr Matheson told the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee: "There are many bed and breakfasts in west coast Scotland, and I’m sure in north east Scotland as well, that would probably want to have a charging facility for guests using an electric vehicle for staying with them overnight.

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"We need to reinforce the grid infrastructure to support that, so Scottish and Southern [Electricity Networks - SSEN] are looking at the measures that might be necessary for that, including, during the summer months, introducing what they have described as ‘pop-up’ charging infrastructure to support tourists with the need for charging infrastructure.”

Charging points will be sited at neighbourhood hubs such as Falkirk Stadium rather than on streets. Picture Michael Gillen

Mr Matheson said SSEN was investigating how rural power networks could be upgraded to cope with the forecast increase in demand, which the firm said could rise by up to ten times in the most popular areas in northern Scotland such as Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Skye from visitors’ electric vehicles by 2032.

He said: "For urban and tenement areas, the most effective means for us to help to support that is not by everybody being able to charge their cars but by working with councils to create charging hubs, where people can park their car and charge it nearby, within their local neighbourhood.

Mr Matheson said councils would be identifying potential sites.

He added: "In my constituency, we have one of the biggest charging hubs in Scotland at Falkirk Stadium.

"It’s a community hub that individuals can come and park their cars at, and get it charged close to the town, to encourage them to make use of electric vehicles.”

SSEN managing director has said of its research: “We are undertaking this work to ensure local communities remain resilient and are prepared for the future. By supporting the creation of electric vehicle (EV)-ready tourist areas we are providing solutions to improve network resilience, reassurance to local communities and EV drivers, and creating benefits for local communities.”

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