Plan for electric car charging points across Scotland

Electric plug in a Tesla Roadster
Image caption People will be able to charge electric cars at points throughout the Scottish road network

Charging points for electric cars are to be installed throughout the Scottish road network, as part of a government scheme to cut vehicle emissions.

Householders will also be given the chance to install free home charging points, with the help of 100% funding.

The plans mean the drivers of electric vehicles will never be more than 50 miles from a charging point when on Scotland's trunk roads.

Leisure centres, council car parks and ferry terminals will also have points.

A total of £2.6m is being invested in the scheme, which the Scottish government hopes will contribute to their aim of "decarbonisation" of road transport by 2050.

Reducing emissions

It is being funded by the Scottish government's transport agency, Transport Scotland, and the Department for Transport's Office of Low Emission Vehicles.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "I look forward to the day when the only vehicles on Scotland's roads are electric vehicles, and this funding will be a massive step towards that vision.

"The move to EVs (electric vehicles) is good for our environment, helping to cut carbon emissions and reduce noise pollution, and will also benefit drivers who will be pleased to hear about the cheaper running costs. You can get from Edinburgh to Glasgow on a single charge for around £1.50 and right now electric vehicles are exempt from road tax.

"The transition to a low carbon sustainable future is reaping rewards for Scotland - we're already seeing exciting new opportunities for innovative Scottish businesses."

Mr Brown also said the government was launching a new website, ChargePlace Scotland, which will allow the public to find charging points and detail financial help available to switch to an electric vehicle.

Transport Scotland's Plugged-in Places project provides 100% funding to buy domestic charging points, which will be installed by energy firm SSE.

David Densley, head of sustainable transport at SSE, said: "Electric vehicles have an important role to play in contributing to a low carbon economy and the installation of charging points across Scotland in the coming years will go some way to helping achieve this."

Public transport

Environmental campaigners said reducing emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles would be vital if the Scottish government is to meet its climate change targets.

But they have also argued that there will have to be major improvements to public transport and increased investment in measures to encourage drivers to leave the car at home and walk or cycle instead.

Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie said: "Electric vehicles can only properly cut our transport emissions if we have much more renewable electricity on the grid and tariffs to encourage owners to charge them at non-peak times.

"It's therefore essential that ministers put traffic demand management back into their plans, and beef up their support for public transport and safer cycling."

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Tavish Scott said: "Until more drivers can afford green cars then charging points will only be used by middle class people whose second car is an electric model.

"The Scottish government should consider making a real change by making the national concessionary bus scheme conditional on the buses running on green power."

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