Vision for world class public electric vehicle charging network

Falkirk EV charging hub

The Scottish Government has published its Vision for Scotland’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network. It comes as a new study shows that uptake of electric vehicles in Scotland could be up to 16% higher than UK Government statistics suggest.

The Vision sets out what an ideal public charging offer for cars and vans in Scotland should look like. It is intended to help guide public, private and third sector partners who will be central to developing Scotland’s future public charging network. Over the coming year Transport Scotland aims to develop and consult on an implementation plan that sets out how we will take forward the actions and ambition of the Vision.

Developed through engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, the Vision places the needs of local communities, businesses and visitors at its heart and is structured around 5 themes:

  • Comprehensive and convenient – so that the network is well-designed and reliable with charge points located where people need them across Scotland.
  • Meeting the needs of users – where using charge points is simple, safe and affordable and works for everyone regardless of their age, health, income or other needs.
  • Grown with private investment – to help the network develop at scale and pace across all of Scotland, leveraging the skills, expertise and resources of a growing number of charge point network providers.
  • Clean, green energy – where Scotland’s electric vehicles are ‘fuelled’ from Scotland’s abundant renewable energy potential and where charge points are integrated into a flexible, modern energy system.
  • Wider sustainable transport system – where locations of charge points shorten car journeys and reduce dependency of privately owned vehicles by providing people with opportunities to travel using car clubs, or public transport – as well as enabling journeys by walking, wheeling and cycling.

Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop said:

“I am pleased to launch the Vision for Scotland’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging Network. Supporting the uptake of electric vehicles is a critical strand of our approach to meeting our climate goals and achieving a just transition to net zero.

“The Vision sets the standard of how Scotland's public charging network needs to grow to support the rapidly expanding market of electric vehicles, and to support the needs of our communities, businesses and visitors alike.

“We can be proud of the early investment that the Scottish Government has made in the ChargePlace Scotland network. We have now provided over £65 million to support development of a comprehensive charging network covering all of Scotland.  That network will continue to be vital over the next few years as we transition towards a public charging network that is largely financed and delivered by the private sector. Our Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund, that aims to leverage £60m of public and private investment, is designed to do just that.

“As the network grows, there are also clear opportunities for the private sector to support the operation of existing ChargePlace Scotland charge points under new arrangements, and ensuring this move is seamless and aligned with the Vision is critical.

“It is also encouraging to learn about the City Science study published by the Scottish Futures Trust, showing the number of electric vehicles in Scotland to be much greater than UK government data suggests. It is clear that we are passing a tipping point in uptake of electric vehicles and that demand is there for investment in the charging network of the future.

“To meet our ambitious climate targets, we need to decarbonise cars as fast as possible while at the same time encouraging a shift away from private car use and towards sustainable travel. This action is central to our public electric vehicle charging Vision and is coupled with record investment in active travel, alongside wider support for public transport to take urgent action in reducing transport emissions as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for ChargeUK, the voice of the EV charging industry said:

“As the voice of the UK’s electric vehicle charging industry ChargeUK welcomes the publication of the Scottish Government’s Vision for a public electric vehicle charging network that will deliver for the needs of Scotland, grown at scale and pace in partnership with private Charge Point Operators.

“Our member organisations are already publicly committed to investing billions of pounds to deliver and operate thousands more charge points by 2030 creating jobs, supporting economic growth and enabling the widespread switch to electric vehicles.

“As an industry we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure they can deliver the Vision and together we can provide a network that provides the right charging infrastructure in the right place for Scotland’s drivers.”

Neil Swanson, Director of Electric Vehicle Association Scotland said:

“The Electric Vehicle Association Scotland welcomes the commitment to ensuring a just transition and in particular the recognition that public intervention will be needed where private investment on its own will be unviable, ensuring that no area should be left behind. 

“The public charge point network in Scotland has been at the forefront of EV uptake across our nation, and the Vision should help ensure that that growth is built upon.  Ensuring that the expanding network works for all in society is key in this, something that the Association has advocated for at local, national and international levels, so we warmly welcome this being placed at the forefront of the Vision.  Aligned with a strong and supportive policy to encourage shifts to public transport and active travel, the creation of innovative charging solutions outside towns and cities may see vehicles contribute to a more cost effective, stable energy system.”