On 26 January 2022 the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport’s statement to the Scottish Parliament announced the publication of a new vision for Scotland’s public electric vehicle charging network. Over the coming months we intend to review and refine the draft vision and will engage with stakeholders.
2. Where we are today
3. Making this vision real – outcomes and priorities
4. Next steps in delivering the draft vision
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. More and more the public charging network will become an essential part of local and national infrastructure, serving the needs of the people of Scotland. In doing so I want to see that it is easily accessed by all, adaptive to innovation and that optimal outcomes are delivered through its integration with our wider sustainable transport and energy systems. The public network needs to connect our rural and urban communities; supporting households, businesses and visitors across our regions and growing a sustainable and inclusive economy.
By 2030 we might expect there to be anywhere between 500,000 to 1 million electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads. Whilst we are focussed on reducing dependency on cars and have set an ambitious commitment to reduce annual car kilometres by 20% by 2030, car journeys will remain part of our overall transport mix. Scotland’s public electric vehicle charging network needs to continue to grow to meet this demand. All in a way which reflects rapidly changing technology influencing where, when and how often people will charge their vehicles.
We can be rightly proud of the progress that has been made in Scotland through the development of the ChargePlace Scotland network of public electric vehicle charge points. With over £50m of public funding to date, this network has helped stimulate the ever growing and increasingly rapid uptake of electric vehicles in Scotland. Our 32 local authorities, wider public bodies as well as third and private sector hosts have played an instrumental role in its growth.
However, I am aware that the existing network is not always perfect. Charge points are sometimes unavailable or in disrepair and electric vehicle drivers report that it is not always easy to use. The scale and pace of investment in public electric vehicle charging infrastructure will need to accelerate over the coming years to meet demand and it would be impractical for the public sector alone to fund the investment needed. We need to build on the lessons learned in developing the ChargePlace Scotland network – continually striving to improve.
We’ve now reached the next stage of the journey, where the opportunity exists to leverage skills, expertise and investment from the commercial sector to build and operate the public network. Partnership will be key and our local authorities will continue to play a critical role in planning outcomes for local areas, developing partnerships with the private sector and ensuring that public subsidy is focused on those areas of the network where it is needed most.
This strategic Vision sets out the key areas underpinning the development of the public electric vehicle charging network over the coming years. An exemplar network that fellow nations highly regard and one that supports a Just Transition and the delivery of our Net Zero climate commitments. By advocating a people-oriented approach, it is focused on ensuring that no part of Scotland is left behind. I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead but also the opportunity, and it is one that we must truly embrace together – for the benefit of our economy, climate and society as a whole.
Michael Matheson MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport