A new public electric vehicle charging fund will be launched that seeks to attract investment from the private sector. The fund will provide up to £60m to local authorities over the next four years, with approximately half of this funding anticipated to be invested by the private sector.
The has the potential to double the size of the public charging network in Scotland, said the Scottish government.
Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport Michael Matheson introduced the new approach during a statement to the Scottish Parliament. He explained how it relates to wider policies, including the commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030. He also announced £350,000 to support six pathfinder projects across Scotland in a measure designed to speed up new strategies and help better identify charge-point requirements across Scotland.
Matheson said: “I’m pleased to outline a new vision for the public electric vehicle charging network. Even though we prioritise funding in active travel and sustainable public transport, cars and vans will still have a role to play and particularly in rural areas. To meet our climate targets, we need these vehicles to be electric, and so we require a seamless network of public electric vehicle chargers, that works for everyone, all of the time.
“Our draft vision provides a clear picture of what electric vehicle charging networks must deliver for drivers across Scotland, and our priorities for achieving those changes. We need a just transition, where accessibility, availability and reliability is key and where no one is left behind from the positive shift to zero emission transport system – including rural and island communities.
“We have invested over £50 million to create a network with over 2,100 public charge points across Scotland. With demand for electric vehicles rapidly increasing thanks to government incentives and support – public and private sector partnerships will now be key in attracting investment and scaling provision at pace. The £60m Public Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund will draw in and smooth commercial investment so that the future charging network works for everyone, while at the same time potentially doubling the size of our public network here in Scotland.
“I understand the concerns people have raised around the potential for charging infrastructure impeding pedestrian access to pavements and their ability to move around freely. We can do things better. And I am pleased to confirm that we will soon begin working with design specialists at V&A Dundee to plan a public network that works for all. This ground breaking approach will see people’s diverse needs and interests shape the future network.”
Neil Swanson from the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland said: “The shift from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles is going to be one of the largest examples of public or private policy implementation of the next decade.