Scotland’s EV charging point usage doubles in one year

Scotland's electric vehicle (EV) charging point usage in August 2016 was double that of last year's figures - as revealed by independent motoring charity the RAC foundation.

Vehicle charging stations across Scotland were used 26,119 times in August this year, more than double that of last year’s August figure of 12,939 and more than nine times the usage in August 2014 (2,885).

Despite this increase, a quarter of Scotland’s 870 charging points remained unused throughout the entire month of August. However, this is an improvement from last year’s 32% and 2014’s 45% figures.

RAC Foundation’s director Steve Gooding said: “They say that when it comes to buying a house location, location, location is everything. So it goes with electric charge points. Facilities need to be in places where people will use them. But there’s something more.

“The evidence suggests that it is rapid chargers that are getting a disproportionate amount of use, which bears out the view that improving the convenience and speed of ‘filling’ up with electricity is mission critical to the wider take-up of these vehicles.”

The data published revealed that rapid chargers make up only 18% of the total number of chargers across the country. However, use of these rapid chargers account for 42% of all sessions.

The high-proportion of rapid charger uses comes down to a difference in charge time. According to ChargePlace Scotland, most public charge points require four-to-eight hours to fully charge a vehicle. In comparison, rapid chargers can fuel EVs from zero to 80% in around half an hour.

To accommodate an increase of EV’s on the road, the charging infrastructure will need to expand. Japanese carmaker Nissan suggests that such an expansion will come soon, saying that there will be more EV charging stations than petrol stations in the UK within four years – if the numbers increase at the same rate as the past few years.

Business boost

With the usage of charge points growing, so are the opportunities to further increase EV uptake. This announcement comes a few days after data revealed that businesses may be the key to bringing about a UK wide EV revolution.

According to the research, almost 700,000 drivers – or 69% of the 940,000 registered company car drivers in the UK – would be likely to choose an EV as their next company car if they were made available. This figure rises to 86% when only considering companies that already provide EV company car solutions.

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “Businesses have a role to play in boosting the numbers of electric vehicles on our roads, and this survey shows that employees want to drive them. Gradually making fleets zero-emission would improve air quality, as well as helping companies reduce their costs.

“We want to make it easier for companies to adopt these cleaner cars, and recently made £7.5m available to workplaces who want to install chargepoints.”

In the first 10 months of 2016, more than 30,000 electric cars were registered across the country – with approximately 70% going to UK businesses. With 940,000 company car drivers currently registered in the UK, businesses could play a crucial role in increasing the number of EV’s on the road, Go Ultra Low suggests.

We have already seen an appetite for drivers in specific sectors to adopt low emission vehicle alternatives. For example, a survey of 1,189 cab drivers carried out by the London Taxi Company revealed that 80% are interested in switching to new ultra-low emission vehicles for work.

Alex Baldwin

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