Scots are closer to their nearest electric vehicle charger than drivers in England

Transport secretary Michael Matheson with one of the latest chargers in Kilmarnock today. Picture: East Ayrshire Council
Transport secretary Michael Matheson with one of the latest chargers in Kilmarnock today. Picture: East Ayrshire Council
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Scotland has a higher density of electric vehicle charging points than England with more than 1,000 now available to the public, transport secretary Michael Matheson announced today.

He said they formed one of the most comprehensive networks in Europe, with one an average of 2.8 miles away compared to 3.8 miles south of the Border.

This is believed to reflect the high number in urban areas, as drivers in rural areas are likely to be far more distant from their nearest charging point.

Mr Matheson said a further 800 points were planned.

According to Zap Map, there are 3,289 publicly-available individual chargers, three in four of which are publicly-run.

They include nearly 200 rapid chargers (50 kilowatt).

The others are privately-operated charging points available to the public, such as in shopping centres.

The publicly-run points, overseen by ChargePlace Scotland, are being installed by councils, but only some offer free charging and in free parking bays.

The transport secretary said increasing the proportion of low-emission vehicles was crucial to the Scottish Government’s target of phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans within 13 years.

But he will want to ensure that the growth in the number of chargers stays ahead to ensure potential converts are not deterred, such as by queues.

Mr Matheson said: “World-class charging infrastructure is critical in developing range confidence and encouraging people to make the switch to electric vehicles.

“At the same time, the continued development of our infrastructure sends a global message that Scotland is ready for a revolution in e-mobility.

“The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is central to our energy strategy, our climate change plan and our goal of making Scotland’s air quality the best in Europe.”

Mr Matheson was speaking during a visit to East Ayrshire Council’s first “electric car park”, in Kilmarnock, which has a charger in every bay.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of IAM RoadSmart, said: "A more intensive network of charging points is a key requirement for the growth of electric vehicles, so this milestone will be welcomed by anyone thinking of making the change.

"However, it is vital the actual consumer experience matches the rhetoric.

"Protecting grants for home charging, swift repair of broken machines, ending confusing tariff charges and relieving charge point congestion all need to be part of this investment to convince the vast majority of drivers to make the change.

"Most car journeys are local so nearly everyone in Scotland could probably run an electric car, but the positives must consistently outweigh the negatives to meet the Scottish Government's target.”

Electric Vehicle Association Scotland director Alister Hamilton said: "The geographical coverage of the ChargePlace Scotland network from Shetland to Stranraer and from the Western Isles to the east coast will inspire confidence in drivers wishing to make the switch to an electric vehicle."