4 Infrastructure and Support

Switched On Scotland Phase Two: An Action Plan For Growth

4 Infrastructure and Support

The starting point in accelerating growth in markets for EVs is to continue to ensure that the enabling infrastructure and early-market support are in place and that they develop to meet the changing needs over time. This includes: charging infrastructure that enables drivers to make the journeys they wish to make; financial support to make EVs more competitive in the early market; communications activities that increase understanding of the opportunities to switch to EVs; and developments in policy, regulations and procurement that motivate investments and commitments across all sectors.

4.1 Progress to Date

Considerable progress has been made in Scotland, with a number of notable developments:

  • ChargePlace Scotland is a network of electric vehicle charge points funded by Transport Scotland. It comprises the vast majority of Scottish charge points, at the start of 2017 over 600 of publicly available charge points (equating to over 1,200 charging bays). This includes over 150 publically available 'rapid' charge points, making it one of the most comprehensive networks in Europe.
  • Over £3.7 million of Transport Scotland funding has been invested by EST to support the installation of charge points at over 1100 homes and around 350 workplaces across Scotland.
  • Dundee City Council has secured significant funding from the UK Government to support the development of infrastructure in the city. This includes £1.86 million from the Go Ultra Low City Scheme and £515,000 from the Ultra Low Emission Taxi Scheme.
  • Transport Scotland has provided around £3.5 million to introduce around 350 new electric vehicles across the fleets of 50 public sector organisations.
  • The Low Carbon Transport Loan Scheme is funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Energy Saving Trust. In 2016/17, 248 carbon saving transport measures were funded with loans to the value of £7.4 million. 247 of these measures were vehicles (consumer and business EVs and PHEVs and Hackney cabs) and 1 loan for fleet telematics.
  • The Scottish Green Bus Fund has provided around £14.8 million of funding over six rounds, enabling the introduction of 315 new low carbon emission buses into the Scottish fleet.
  • Support for widespread adoption of electric vehicles now forms part of several significant national policies including the 2017 Draft Climate Change Plan, the 2016 refreshed National Transport Strategy, the 2015 Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy and the 2017 Draft Scottish Energy Strategy.
  • The majority of local transport strategies in Scotland now contain references to electric vehicles.
  • Work has been undertaken to understand the impact and opportunities of increased electric vehicle adoption on Scotland's energy system. The results of this were published in the Energy Systems and Electric Vehicles Report[11] in July 2016.
  • The Switched on @Work programme was established in 2016 to support organisations interested in helping their employees identify the benefits of switching to EVs.
  • There has been a broad programme of activities to engage a wide number of people through a range of marketing campaigns, including the Greener Scotland campaigns.

4.2 Forward Actions

To build on these achievements and ensure continued development of the infrastructure and early-market support, Transport Scotland will focus on the following five actions:

Action 1: Support the increased deployment of public charging infrastructure by developing the ChargePlace Scotland network.

As adoption and use of EVs increases there will be a need to further increase the number of public charge points. Working with partners and other stakeholders, Transport Scotland will continue to develop the ChargePlace Scotland network, investing until at least August 2019, in public infrastructure that enables people to confidently charge their EVs across Scotland.

As well as geographic spread, Transport Scotland funding will deepen and strengthen the network through installing more than one charging point at locations where there is sufficient demand.

A further area of support will be infrastructure for private locations. This includes workplaces, taxi depots, leisure facilities and other car parks that are not open to everybody, but offer charging opportunities for a large numbers of vehicles.

Transport Scotland will also investigate ways to encourage private sector investments in infrastructure.

Action 2: Provide financial support for the purchase of EVs and installation of private charging infrastructure.

While the operational and maintenance costs of EVs are typically significantly lower than internal combustion engine vehicles, the costs to purchase EVs are comparatively higher. The need to purchase and install charge points for homes and workplaces adds to this cost and can also discourage people from investing in EVs. Developments in technology and the overall market for EVs are expected to reduce these upfront costs. However, in the early market they are expected to remain a perceived barrier to many people.

To address this, Transport Scotland, through the Energy Saving Trust, will continue to offer individuals and organisations a number of financial incentives to encourage a faster uptake of EV ownership. This includes interest-free loans, until at least 2020, which currently provide up to £35,000 towards the cost of purchasing a new electric vehicle. It also includes financial support towards the cost of installing charge points at homes and for fleet vehicles.

Transport Scotland will also build on the success of the Switched on Fleets programme and explore the potential to provide further support for the deployment of EVs in public sector fleets and towards the cost of installing charge points in depots.

Transport Scotland will also continue to work closely with the UK Government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) on the EV Homecharge Scheme, on vehicle excise duty and tax incentives for EVs, and purchase grants for electric cars, vans, trucks, taxis and motorbikes.

Action 3: Work with partners on procurement approaches that encourage investment in EVs.

The spending power of the public, private and third sector presents an opportunity to give a significant boost to markets for EVs. Working with partners, Transport Scotland will develop practical guidance by the end of 2018 which will provide advice and support on procurement approaches that can be adopted to encourage both public and private sector organisations to incentivise the use of EVs. This includes the adoption of EVs by fleets and the procurement of transport services that incentivise the use of EVs, such as taxi and logistics contracts.

Action 4: Continue to work with partners to promote EVs as an alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles.

The market for EVs is still in the early stages of development. As such, there continues to be a need to address low levels of awareness of the capabilities, and advantages of EVs. Transport Scotland will continue to build on its existing communication and educational activity, working with Energy Saving Trust and other partners to identify further opportunities to deliver targeted and effective messaging that promotes EVs as an alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles.

A particular focus will be on the promotion ChargePlace Scotland Network, giving people the knowledge and confidence to drive EVs across Scotland.

Action 5: Embed support for EVs in strategies for transport, energy, climate change, air quality and the built environment.

Transport Scotland will continue working across Government, with businesses, local authorities, the wider public sector and third sector organisations to embed support for EVs in all relevant strategies and wider policies. A key part of this will be the finalisation of the Climate Change Plan and Energy Strategy and the preparation of the National Transport Strategy. This action also includes working with the European Commission and UK Government on developments in these areas, including vehicle emission standards.

As well as embedding EVs in relevant strategies and wider policies, delivery is essential. Therefore Transport Scotland will continue to offer support, where possible, to enable organisations to adopt EVs.