First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans for £16.7 million in additional funding to go towards efforts to transform Scotland to a low carbon country.
The announcement comes ahead of the unveiling of Ms Sturgeon’s Programme for Government, after last year’s committed to set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the electrification of the road network, with the aim of removing the need for new petrol or diesel cars or vans on Scotland’s roads by 2032.
Funding will be split between increasing the number of green buses across Scotland, while a large portion will be devoted to improving access to electric charging points in homes, businesses and public places to encourage more people to consider an electric vehicle as a viable alternative to a petrol or diesel vehicle.
The investment will go towards creating 1500 new charging points for vehicles and buses across Scotland.
The announcement also included an expansion of the Switched on Towns and Cities initiative, which will help create 20 new ‘electric towns by 2025 to support local communities to increase electric vehicle uptake.
While registrations of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs – electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric and range extender vehicles) are on the up in Scotland – figures released by the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) for July show that the proportion increased from 4% of all vehicle registrations in Scotland in July 2017 to 5.9% in July 2018 – petrol and diesel vehicles still make up an overwhelming majority of registrations at 94% of vehicles registered in Scotland in July 2018.
Access to charging infrastructure is something that has limited uptake of these vehicles as well as the limited range many provide in comparison to their petrol or diesel counterparts, noted Sandy Burgess, Chief Executive of the SMTA on release of the July figures, as he called on the government for action to support the 2032 pledge.
“Whilst there can be no doubt about the shift towards the adoption of alternative fuelled vehicles, we still have to understand that the current opportunities are not for everyone, particularly those who are high mileage users with limited access to the relatively small number of charging points in the towns and cities around Scotland.
“There really is no workable alternative for these drivers at present other than to replace their older, more pollutant diesels with clean and efficient Euro 6 diesel engine vehicles, the Scottish government, UK government and various aspects of the media need to understand this sooner rather than later.”