Slow transition

Scotland bottom of EV charging points table

Michael Matheson electric charging
Michael Matheson’s EV charging point plans are under pressure

Scotland had the slowest growth in electric vehicle charging points of any part of Britain over the past 12 months, according to new data.

Although Scotland currently has more EV chargers per 100,000 population (54.7), than England (48.6) and Wales (37.6), the charger network north of the border only increased by 16.5% between July 2021 and last month.

That puts Scotland bottom of 11 regions and nations while London saw 40% growth and Yorkshire & Humber was just behind with 39.6%.

The data is an embarrassing blow to the country that hosted the COP26 climate change summit. The Scottish government – in which the Green Party has two ministers – has made EV charging a key plank of its clean energy transition agenda.

Some English local authorities have blazed a trail over the past 12 months. Seven have more than trebled the size of their charger networks since July 2021. East Hertfordshire leads the way, increasing public charger numbers by 318%. Dover has expanded its network by 236%.

By contrast, Renfrewshire is among the local authorities where the number of EV chargers has actually declined, down 5.6%.

The overall figures for England, Scotland and Wales are causing concern that progress is too slow and that Britain will not achieve its stated target.

Department of Transport figures reveal that the electric car charger rollout across the UK stalled for the second quarter running. In total, 1,721 public chargers were installed from 1 April to 1 July this year, down 10% on the previous quarter, and 30% lower than the number installed in the last quarter of 2021.

With another 268,000 public chargers to be installed to hit the 300,000 target, and only 90 months to achieve this, local authorities need to grow their charger network at an annual rate of 32%; but the majority  are well short of this growth rate.

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According to analysis by leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, 228 of 375 local authorities missed the target over the past 12 months. More than a quarter (26%) of LAs expanded their public charger network by less than 10% over the past 12 months.

John Wilmot, CEO, LeaseLoco, said: “These latest figures reveal the stark reality, that as the UK transitions to electric vehicles, the charging infrastructure rollout is not progressing at a fast enough rate in many areas.

“The government has a colossal task on its hands if it hopes to hit the 300,000 target by 2030, and create a charging infrastructure able to cope with the growth in EV ownership over the next decade.

“Although home charging will have a pivotal role to play, there will still be a huge reliance on the public charging network. And the ramifications on local economies of a substandard charging infrastructure could be severe.

“Also, the public isn’t stupid. They won’t be convinced to early switch to electric if they don’t believe the charging infrastructure can cope with demand. And the government will have scored a huge own goal by declaring such an ambitious target and then coming up woefully short of it.”

See also: Scottish Government announces EV charge points to be installed in new buildings

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