Electric vehicles the way forward in bid to drive down vehicle emissions in Scotland

The Nissan Leaf - a good example of an electric vehicle.
The Nissan Leaf - a good example of an electric vehicle.

In September 2013, Keith Brown, the then Minister for Transport and Veterans, launched ‘Switched On Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles’. – setting out the Government’s vision for the country’s EV future.

The roadmap details Scotland’s vision to free Scottish towns, cities and communities from damaging petrol and diesel vehicle emissions by 2050.

It establishes the ambition that, from 2040, almost all new vehicles sold will be near zero-emission at the tailpipe and that, by 2030, half of all fossil-fuelled vehicles will be phased-out of urban environments across Scotland.

Achieving this vision requires action by all stakeholders across several key areas, ranging from stimulating the growth of the early market for EVs (electric vehicles), to the need for communications and education to promote widespread adoption.

EVs will not only help achieve Scotland’s ambitious emissions reduction targets but also help to improve local air quality with a resultant improvement in public health and well-being.

EVs are also a vital component of the drive to energise Scotland’s economy through opportunities for our flourishing green technology industries.

EVs have a positive impact on health, well-being and the environment.

They can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality and reduce noise pollution.

In Scotland a third of all car journeys are less than two miles long and nearly a quarter of all trips are one mile or less.

In a regular car, these journeys emit a disproportionate amount of carbon into the air, whereas EVs provide a cleaner method of transport.

EVs are becoming more mainstream, affordable and viable.

There’s also free installation of a home charging point, free charging currently across the majority of the ChargePlace Scotland network and zero vehicle excise duty.

They also have cheaper running costs - 2/3p a mile to power an electric car compared to 16p a mile for the average family car.

The objective is to give drivers the confidence to make the same journeys they would in a petrol or diesel car, and with over 600 publicly available charge points now installed across Scotland a network is being built which can accommodate an ever-increasing demand.

To help promote uptake, local authorities and businesses are being supported to install charge points on their own premises and help them replace their fleets with cleaner, electric alternatives.

More people in Scotland are now driving EVs and there are a variety of models available from major manufacturers.

Alasdair Ferguson purchased a Nissan Leaf in a bid to reduce fuel costs.

He said: “We had a monthly fuel bill of over £300 and, while our Nissan Leaf hasn’t eliminated our fuel bills, it has dramatically reduced our costs per month.

“Our only concern before purchasing an electric vehicle was the availability of charge points.

“However, it has not been an issue for us and with more charging points becoming available and more on the way, it will only get better.’’