Electric Vehicles

Is Scotland ready for the electric car?

by Ryan Brown

After the government’s move to bring forward a ban on diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to 2035, is the country ready for a switch to electric?

With the UK aiming to emit zero carbon by 2050, experts had warned that the original target would be too late, leaving just 15 years before the start of the phasing out of these traditionally fuelled cars.

Charge Place Scotland oversees the national network of electric vehicle charge points available across the nation and operates on behalf of the Scottish Government by Charge Your Car Ltd.

This map shows the location of every electric charger across the central belt with many areas significantly isolated from charging points.

Despite this, the organisation are working on a new project known as ‘Electric A9’ in partnership with Transport Scotland.

The project will stretch along the entire A9 route with charge place hubs allowing charging for long journeys as well as for local businesses, residents and visitors when they reach their destination.

A spokesperson from Charge Place Scotland said: “The Electric A9 will expand and reinforce Scotland’s existing electric vehicle charge place infrastructure.

“This will be Scotland’s longest electric vehicle-ready route and stand as a beacon to those at home and abroad.

“It is a clear signal that electric vehicles are a viable, sustainable option now, and that the provision of this infrastructure clearly supports the Scottish Government’s vision to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032.”

Electric fuelled vehicles reached a record share of the market in 2019 but that figure is still as low as 1.9 per cent.

Alister Hamilton, Director of the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland, welcomed the bringing forward of the ban but insisted there is still work to be done to get everyone on board.

He said: “The Scottish Government’s target of 2032 is what we would like to see.

“I would encourage everyone to start switching to electric now to make it a smooth transition.

“Go to your local dealership, try a car, drive one and the longer you get it the better.

“Generally once drivers try the electric models, they do enjoy it.”

A concern for many buyers will be the cost of electric models.

BMW’s i3 has a list price £35,120 whilst Vauxhall’s brand new Corsa-e will set you back around £26,000, however, there are savings to be had in the long run especially with Government offering a £3,500 payback when you purchase an electric vehicle.

Alister also added: “The second hand market is good just now.

“If you look at a fairly standard five seater, you can get one for around £5,500 so there are deals there and you don’t always have to buy new.

“At the moment the price is high due to the batteries but we expect in the next couple of years, as more are produced, the price will come down.

“There’s no doubt that offering these incentives will lead to more sales, we have seen that in Norway where 50 per cent of cars sold are electric.

“It is also important for people to remember the cost in the long run.

“The fuel is cheaper, as is maintenance so you will save money through that in the future.”

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