An efficient, reliable and sustainable fast charging network across Scotland is imperative if the country is to convince more drivers to make the transition to electric vehicles, says Electric Vehicle Association Scotland.
Scotland now benefits from the most public EV charging points outside London and the most rapid charge points per capita anywhere in the UK.
Private and public partnerships are essential to deliver the network of tomorrow, says the Scottish Government.
In its ‘Vision for Scotland’s Public EV Charging Network’, Michael Mathieson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport said: “Tomorrow’s public electric vehicle charging network will be very different to the one of today. Enabling drivers to conveniently and simply charge their vehicles with confidence, at the right place and time, whether at home, work or in public will be crucial.”
By 2030, it’s predicted there will be up to one million electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads, and the public electric vehicle charging network needs to continue growing to meet demand and ensure climate change obligations and targets are met.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth, opening the largest Fastned station in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, said: “Public and private sector partnerships are key in attracting investment and scaling up provision.
“Scotland is very much at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution and we are seeing impressive growth in uptake. We want to ensure that the public electric vehicle charging network keeps up with demand to meet the needs of people and businesses across the whole of Scotland.”
She stressed that companies like Fastned – which has eight rapid charge hubs in Scotland – would play an increasingly important role in delivering Scotland’s Net Zero ambition.
The majority of local authorities north of the border have now made electric vehicles their ‘go to’ solution and focused on providing charging infrastructure to meet future demand, with a Fastned spokesman confirming that Scotland was a “key strategic location”.
He said: “We’re preparing to construct a new site in the coming few months and while developing a pipeline of location opportunities as far north as Inverness, bringing the EV revolution to every corner of the UK.”
DoT figures show that by population, Scotland benefits from the most public electric vehicle charging points outside London, and the most rapid charge points anywhere in the UK with 55 per 100,000 of population.
Currently, there are over 3,500 across Scotland – not including private sector charge points in business premises, supermarkets, private car parks and service stations. The vast majority of EV owners, according to EVA Scotland, charge their cars at home.
Charge Place Scotland – which operates the system connecting public chargers from over 350 installers through a single unified point of access for drivers, handling fault reports to the maintenance providers – recently partnered with the UK’s largest EV single solution charge card provider PAUA to provide a platform enabling EV owners to access multiple networks anywhere in the country.
Other charge point providers, including Osprey Charging, see major expansion opportunities in Scotland. It already operates 30 rapid chargers in 18 locations in retail parks and pubs restaurants. Earlier this year, it opened a new high-power charging location at Haddington Retail Park just off the A1 outside Edinburgh with three 75kW rapid chargers earlier and is now looking at Aberdeen and Inverness.
Ian Johnston, Osprey’s CEO ,said: “We will be adding to our current sites with two further ultra-rapid charging hubs in development near Glasgow and Loch Lomond. These will bring the high availability and reliability that drivers now expect.”
It’s predicted that investment of around £1 billion will be required for Scotland’s public charging network, creating considerable opportunities to attract a range of service providers and private capital.
Neil Swanson, director of EVA Scotland, stresses the importance of maintaining high delivery of fast and rapid charge points. He said: “We are seeing sales of electric vehicles in Scotland continue to grow exponentially and we expect to see the market beat the 2030 deadline when the sales of all petrol and diesel cars banned.
“As EVs accounted for one in seven cars sold in August, showing approximately 17% of steady growth over the past 12 months, never has it been so important to have a charging infrastructure that includes fast and rapid chargers, capable of supporting the challenges ahead, ensuring equitable access, leaving no part of society behind.”
Scotland’s 32 councils have an important role to play in the provision of charge points for local communities and most are discussing options with companies such as ubitricity and Connected Kerb.
ubitricity is a Shell company whose charge point system enables local authorities to provide on-street charging for EV owners who don’t have a driveway and home charging facilities. A spokesman explained: “Rapid and fast charging is brilliant for long journeys when EV owners need to quickly recharge but when it comes to day-to-day needs, perceived long wait times for charging are sometimes viewed as inconvenient for many, particularly for those who travel as part of their job.
“Most of our end users plug into our 5kw street chargers when they return from work and unplug in the morning before their morning commute. Our chargers, like home chargers are used overnight. Multiple charging options are needed for a fit for purpose EV charging infrastructure network.”
Electric Vehicle Association Scotland advises government on policy and represents EV owners.