1,000 Electric Cars On Scotland's Roads

13 February 2015, 07:11 | Updated: 13 February 2015, 07:14

More than 1,000 electric vehicles are now thought to be on the road in Scotland, with Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow the apparent hotspots for use.

But despite the presence of around 1,100 cars and vans north of the border, Scotland's charging network is running below capacity, official data suggests.

The figures were revealed by the RAC Foundation, which analysed information obtained under Freedom of Information rules from Transport Scotland.

The statistics - which relate to one month only, August last year - show that of the 482 units in the ChargePlace Scotland network, 217, or 45%, were not plugged into at all during that month. The remaining 265 (55%) were used at least once.

There were some notable exceptions to the Scotland average, however, with all the charging units in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling used at least once in August.

Overall that month, there was a total of 2,885 individual charging sessions in Scotland.

Of these sessions, 46% took place in three cities - Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.

The most heavily-used charging unit was at Janet Brougham House, a care home in Dundee, which recorded 103 charging sessions in August 2014.

The next most heavily-used locations were Edinburgh's Victoria Quay (80 sessions) and Ingliston Park and Ride (61 sessions).

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The encouraging news is that electric car sales in the UK are at last showing signs of improvement, but we still have a charging network in Scotland that is running below capacity.

"Part of the reason for installing public charge points is to help drivers overcome their fear of range anxiety, but this does not come cheap.

"This data also suggests a good proportion of charge points are located on private premises including council sites. This is encouraging as it was always envisaged that fleet operators would lead the way in the electric revolution.

"Ultimately we hope our analysis will give an indication of where further money should be spent and where extra infrastructure might be needed.''

ChargePlace Scotland is the initiative behind Scotland's free charge point network.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Alongside measures to reduce the total number of cars on our roads, a significant shift to electric vehicles will be needed to help Scotland reduce climate change emissions from the transport sector.

"These figures demonstrate that we've a distance to go before electric vehicles become a common sight on our roads.

"We'd therefore encourage the Scottish Government to continue support efforts to speed up the roll-out of climate-friendly cars as well as to reduce the need for people to drive in the first place.''