11 Communication & education

11 Communication & education

To encourage widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles, it will be essential to complement the measures highlighted in previous sections by promoting increased awareness and influencing attitudes and skills in order to build confidence in purchasing and using plug-in vehicles. This requires engagement with individuals, organisations and key influencers in the public and private sector.

11.1 Increased opportunities for the public to experience plug-in vehicles

A low level of awareness and understanding of plug-in vehicles amongst the general public will undoubtedly temper demand. For an individual to consider investing in an EV or PHEV they first need to be aware that this is a potential option. This requires active education and promotion efforts to create an informed public that understands the costs, benefits and opportunities of investing in plug-in vehicles.

Central to this will be to provide first-hand experience of plug-in vehicles, enabling consumers to touch, feel, drive and recharge them. This will allow individuals to experience the performance and capabilities of plug-in vehicles, as well as helping to dispel any prior negative misconceptions or concerns.

Figure 13: Communication & education timeline of key developments and enabling measures

Figure 13: Communication & education timeline of key developments and enabling measures

As a first step, the Energy Saving Trust, supported by funding from Transport Scotland, will launch an Electric Vehicle Network Tool in 2013, to provide those people interested in adopting plug-in vehicles with all the information they need to make an informed decision. By allowing them to ask questions of current owners they can get the real-life experience of owning a plug-in vehicle. The network will be an online tool on Energy Saving Trust's website for people to search for both private and business owners of electric vehicles and dealerships offering test drives.

Vehicle manufacturers also have a key role and should be supported in finding opportunities to engage with consumers in Scotland. Fleet operators of plug-in vehicles should also be encouraged to demonstrate their vehicles and share their experiences with members of the public.

Beyond "ride-and-drive" events, this can also be achieved by related efforts to encourage plug-in vehicle adoption by businesses, taxis, car clubs and rental fleets.

Action 35 Energy Saving Trust to launch an electric vehicle network tool for individuals and organisations to allow them to speak to current plug-in vehicle owners and experience plug-in vehicles first hand at their local dealerships 2013

 

Action 21 Transport Scotland to develop an outreach and education strategy for plug-in vehicles 2013-15

 

Action 27 Support for the promotion of shared plug-in vehicles through the Developing Car Clubs in Scotland programme Ongoing

 

CASE STUDY:
SCOTTISH BORDERS EV ROADSHOW

Scottish Borders Council held an EV roadshow over five days in towns across the Borders in April 2013. The roadshow enabled local people to speak to Council staff and vehicle manufacturers to find out more about EVs, how they are charged and whether such a vehicle would be beneficial for them.

A selection of electric vehicles from Vauxhall, Renault, Citroen and Nissan were available to test drive and information was offered to members of the public and businesses on:

  • The different types of EVs available
  • Battery charging speeds
  • Fitting home sockets for charging, and the associated grants available
  • The national charging network across Scotland and into Northumberland
  • Public rapid chargers, such as the ones at Scottish Borders Council's Headquarters and in Peebles
  • Leasing electric vehicles
  • Insurance

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said: "The roadshows offered a great opportunity for local people to come along and find out more about EVs and whether they would be practical and cost-effective for them."

Councillor Ron Smith, Executive Member for Planning and Environment, added: "The national network of Government-funded charging points is being extended, giving Borderers a real opportunity to reduce emissions, save the planet and save ourselves some money into the bargain. This network extension is essential if motorists are to have increased confidence in these 'green' vehicles."

11.2 Increased awareness of the imperatives for plug-in vehicles

Widespread understanding of the imperatives for adopting plug-in vehicles will be important to encourage growth in markets. Much of this comes down to connecting with the different motivations for action. For example, at the level of individuals, messaging on energy security, economic opportunities and potentially climate change is arguably too abstract and distant from most personal experiences. However, raising awareness of the damage to human health caused by road transport emissions may have a greater resonance as it has a more local and immediate impact.

This should be taken forward at a number of levels. Government has a key role to play in ensuring that EVs and PHEVs are not solely promoted as low carbon vehicles, but as a means to improve public health and advance economic opportunities that will benefit Scotland. For organisations that are involved in marketing and promoting plug-in vehicles, it is recommended that messaging is aligned and reinforced to achieve the maximum impact. At the level of individuals, consistent, credible and targeted messages need to be delivered through multiple communication channels.

Action 11 Scottish Government to develop a plug-in vehicle marketing campaign as part of wider Greener Scotland activity, to raise awareness, promote incentives and communicate benefits of plug-in vehicles 2013-14

 

Action 21 Transport Scotland to develop an outreach and education strategy for plug-in vehicles 2013-15

 

Action 23 Transport Scotland to continue to develop the electric vehicle content on the Greener Scotland website to provide information on plug-in vehicles, recharging and respond to the needs of EV and PHEV drivers 2013-14

 

11.3 Consumers understand how plug-in vehicles will fit their lifestyles

Further to promoting general awareness of plug-in vehicles, there is also a requirement to help people understand how an EV or PHEV would fit with their lifestyle and how they would go about making such a change. At the basic level this requires the provision of necessary information on issues such as vehicle use, vehicle options, range, incentives, recharging, costs and potential savings.

Accordingly, the task is to find innovative ways to engage, inform and enthuse consumers across Scotland. Achieving this will require cooperation between public and private stakeholders to initiate a broad based programme of activity that both understands people's beliefs and attitudes about plug-in vehicles, including any concerns, and communicates with people in order to help positively influence purchase and use.

Action 11 Scottish Government to develop a plug-in vehicle marketing campaign as part of wider Greener Scotland activity, to raise awareness, promote incentives and communicate benefits of plug-in vehicles 2013-14

 

Action 21 Transport Scotland to develop an outreach and education strategy for plug-in vehicles 2013-15

 

CASE STUDY:
SSE HYDRO CENTRE

In the heart of Glasgow, SSE has developed a state of the art exhibition featuring innovative demonstration models of EVs, exhibits showing how various forms of renewable energy are generated and a free electric car charging and test drive facility. Since opening in March 2012 the centre has received approximately 6,500 visitors, offered 122 fast charges, 67 standard charges and over 330 test drives.

The Hydro Centre has also held events in conjunction with the Energy Saving Trust to provide advice on topics such as efficient driving techniques and on the range of vehicles and incentives available.

11.4 Peer networks promote positive experiences and solve problems

Peers and trusted advocates are often key in influencing people's behaviours and therefore are likely to be a valuable asset in encouraging further adoption of plug-in vehicles. This will be particularly important in supporting organisations that are considering investing in plug-in vehicles and the provision of charge points. Connections with similar organisations that have prior experience of implementing such initiatives will make it easier to confidently invest and improve the chances of successful implementation. Structured fora are required to facilitate these dialogues, share positive experiences and collaboratively solve any problems that may arise.

This process will also be supported by collecting case studies and positive experiences from the growing community of organisations and individuals adopting plug-in vehicles across Scotland. Such insights and experiences should be widely promoted to demonstrate how to take positive action in adopting plug-in vehicles and the benefits that can be achieved.

Action 6 Transport Scotland to establish a multi-stakeholder group on fleets to review the challenges and opportunities for wider adoption and prepare necessary guidance and advice for public and private sector organisations 2013-14

 

Action 19 Transport Scotland to establish a multi-stakeholder group on recharging to review the challenges and opportunities and prepare necessary guidance and advice for public and private sector organisations 2013-14

 

Action 35 Energy Saving Trust to launch an electric vehicle network tool for individuals and organisations to allow them to speak to current plug-in vehicle owners and experience plug-in vehicles first hand at their local dealerships 2013

 

CASE STUDY:
ELECTRIC VEHICLE ASSOCIATION SCOTLAND

Private motorists that have made an independent decision to have an EV as their next car are invariably enthusiastic about the benefits and driving experience that it brings. As it became possible to purchase an EV from mainstream car manufacturers the number of owners has grown and an 'electric community' developed amongst drivers. Those early adopters saw that there was a pool of shared real world experience that would benefit and endorse the efforts of Government to reduce emissions from transport and more than that, help direct policy to overcome barriers to EV ownership.

As a result the EV Association Scotland was formed in early 2012 and has grown into a wide organisation of EV drivers and drivers that are considering an EV as their next car. The association takes an active part in Government led development of public infrastructure as well as promoting the new technology of modern EVs to the public.

Activities of the EV Association Scotland range from members simply being prepared to talk to passers-by when questioned about their EV in the supermarket car park, to presentations at local community events and national conferences. When drivers see EVs being used in practical every day situation this helps swing opinion from scepticism to interest to active. The growth of the EV Association Scotland is testament to benefits of this type of grass roots communication.

11.5 Children and young people are engaged

Scotland's ambitions to decarbonise road transport extend beyond 2030 and out to 2050. Accordingly, much of this progress will ultimately be driven by the present generation of children and young people. It is possible that many of them will never drive a fossil-fuelled vehicle and will reject petrol and diesel engines as being expensive, outmoded and damaging to both human health and the environment.

Curriculum for Excellence is preparing young people in Scottish schools for a rapidly changing world of the 21st century. It is important that children and young people are given an opportunity to engage with technological developments, such as plug-in vehicles. Education Scotland has developed resources to support learning in this context. These can offer exciting, meaningful, challenging and relevant contexts for learning in schools and provide an opportunity for learners to think critically, tackle complex moral, ethical, environmental and ethical issues and develop informed opinions and possible solutions.

Beyond supporting mainstream adoption, there are also opportunities to use the burgeoning interest in plug-in vehicles to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills within schools to ensure leaners are equipped with the skills to access careers in these sectors but also to ensure they develop as scientifically-literate citizens able to support developments that will make Scotland one of the leading low-carbon societies in the world.

Action 36 The Scottish Government and industry bodies to work with Education Scotland to review existing resource provision for schools relating to plug-in vehicles and develop further where appropriate 2013-15

 

11.6 A skilled workforce supports widespread operation of plug-in vehicles

Scotland will need new skills to support the growing market for plug-in vehicles and to adapt to the new challenges that this will bring.

Technical professionals will need to be equipped with the necessary knowledge to repair and maintain plug-in vehicles. This includes mechanics, service technicians, fleet managers, breakdown services and other related professions.

Technical skills will also be required by personnel responsible for the installation, maintenance, servicing and inspection of different recharging technologies. It is also essential that vehicle dealerships and sales personnel are sufficiently knowledgeable to promote plug-in vehicles as a viable option to prospective customers.

Another important area is first responders, such as police, paramedics, fire fighters and hazard response teams. It is important that these professions are trained in how to safely respond to road traffic accidents or other incidents involving plug-in vehicles and related infrastructure.

Education and outreach activities will therefore need to connect with all relevant professions to provide the necessary skills for safe and successful operation of plug-in vehicles. Coordination with industry will also be important to determine the scale of demand. In addition, engagement is required with education and training providers across Scotland to ensure that they are positioned to meet the emerging demand for these new skills.

Use should also be made of existing funding mechanisms to assist in the attainment of these skills. The Low Carbon Skills Fund29, for example, could assist employers to train their workforce in areas such as maintenance, servicing and repair of low carbon vehicles.

The Further Education sector in Scotland has been pro-active in developing training for plug-in vehicles, with both Edinburgh College and Motherwell College, for example, already offering awards on topics such as EV repair and maintenance.

Action 37 Scottish Government to work with industry, Skills Development Scotland and other key stakeholders, such as the Scottish Funding Council, to quantify and determine the nature and demand for plug-in vehicle education and skills and review and revise provision accordingly 2013-15

 

11.7 Plug-in vehicle driver training

Training new and potential drivers of plug-in vehicles offers an important way to increase confidence in the technology and reduce the risk of any negative events, such as miscalculating the driveable range or failing to correctly charge a vehicle. In particular, organisations that provide electric pool cars or other fleet vehicles should ensure that their staff are given appropriate instructions and training.

More advanced training in efficient driving techniques will also increase the driveable range of plug-in vehicles. This could expand the potential application for these vehicles, save organisations money and promote greater awareness of the benefits of fuel efficient driving.

A number of organisations including the Energy Saving Trust provide specialist driver training for plug-in vehicles. Scottish organisations should therefore be encouraged to access these opportunities.

Action 6 Transport Scotland to establish a multi-stakeholder group on fleets to review the challenges and opportunities for wider adoption and prepare necessary guidance and advice for public and private sector organisations 2013-14

 

Action 12 Energy Saving Trust to continue to promote its support for Scottish businesses to adopt plug-in vehicles through EV Awareness Raising Workshops, Sustainable Transport Advice Service and Interest Free Low Carbon Transport Loans and FuelGood driver training Ongoing

 

Car - Source: Johnson Matthey Battery Systems