2. Where we are today

While a number of important aspects of investment and delivery of electric vehicle charging are not devolved, the Scottish Government has moved early to support the transition to electric vehicles.

Since 2013, £50 million has been invested in the ChargePlace Scotland network of publicly available electric vehicle charge points; while simultaneously creating a policy environment to support investment in electric vehicles. This network of over 2,100 charge points, that delivered 783,000 charging sessions in 2020, is currently the fifth largest in the UK.

Picture of an electric car charging up at a ChargePlace Scotland charge point. Caption: 'The ChargePlace Scotland Network now provides over 2000 public charge points. It supported almost 783,000 charging events in 2020.'

Together with private sector provision, Scotland’s ‘network’ of public charge points is the most comprehensive in the UK outside of London. Furthermore, the provision of rapid charge points – capable of providing power outputs rated at 25kW or above - is also ahead of anywhere else in the UK.

Sales of new electric cars in Scotland, for example, are also on a steep upward trend. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, on a rolling 12 month average they made up 12.7% of new car sales at December 2021 – a 24% increase on the rolling average at December 2020. For the month of December 2021 itself, sales of electric cars made up over 21% of all new car sales in Scotland.

Close up of someone plugging in an electric car into a chargepoint. Caption: 21.4% of all new car sales in December 2021 in Scotland were electric.

It is evident that an inflection point in electric vehicle uptake is underway. Whilst we want to transition from dependency on cars in preference to active modes of travel and increased use of public transport, independent analysis commissioned by Transport Scotland indicates that under a number of policy scenarios there could be anywhere between 500,000 to 1 million electric cars on Scotland’s roads by 2030 (Underlying data from Decarbonising the Scottish Transport Sector - Element Energy Report for Transport Scotland - September 2021). While electric vans and other vehicles are at an earlier stage of transition, demand is rising and a similar trajectory is expected over the coming years.

The availability, accessibly and reliability of public charging infrastructure must progress in tandem to support growth in demand to the high standards expected and needed by consumers. Expansion of the public charging network will need to continue to be planned in a way that best reflects local geographies and the requirements of users; to avoid unnecessary investment and to deliver best outcomes across Scotland.

< Previous | Contents | Next >