Edinburgh to consider £3m electric vehicle charging plan

Edinburgh city councillors will consider initial plans to develop a citywide network of electric vehicle charging points at a meeting on Thursday (4 October), as part of efforts to tackle air pollution.

A business case developed for the city council by the Energy Saving Trust suggests that the city will need to spend around £3.4 million to install over 200 on-street rapid chargers by 2023, in order to meet future demand for charging facilities.

Edinburgh city council will consider a business case for investment in new infrastructure for electric vehicles

Latest figures — compiled in 2017 — suggest that there are up to 500 electric vehicles currently in use in the city, with the city council predicting that this is likely to increase significantly to around 10,000 on the city’s roads by the middle of the next decade.

Investment in the city’s charging infrastructure has seen the total number of charging points increase from eight in 2013, to 89 by October 2017 — with around 58 of these available for public access.


However, further investment in infrastructure is anticipated, with a total of 68 locations hosting multiple charging points having been identified across the city to create ‘strategic charging hubs’ for users.

If the business case is approved at Thursday’s meeting, a work programme will be developed that will detail the final list of locations, costs, timelines and associated works including liaison with Scottish Power as the Network Provider.

The council has also applied to Transport Scotland’s Switched On Towns and Cities fund for £2m towards upgrading electric vehicle infrastructure in Edinburgh.

Over 200 new – mainly rapid – charging points are anticipated to be needed to meet increased demand for EVs in the city

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “Edinburgh is in the vanguard of a nationwide drive to improve electric vehicle infrastructure and this business case will help us make great strides towards a greener, healthier Capital.

“Electric vehicles are only part of the solution to worsening air quality, however, alongside the other key elements of our wider sustainable transport agenda for the Capital such as promoting use of public transport and active travel like walking and cycling.”

Predicted benefits for the city from the work programme include a potential reduction in Nitrogen Dioxide emissions of around 14 tonnes per year.

Low Emission Zone

The city is one of four Scottish authorities currently in the process of drawing up plans to implement a Low Emission Zone by 2020, in order to address exceedances of the 40µg/m3 legal limit for nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Edinburgh is also currently consulting on proposals to overhaul transport in the centre of the city, which could include regular car free days, as well as improved infrastructure for walking and cycling (see story).

Firm proposals on the implementation of the Low Emission Zone are expected to be brought forward later in the year, and are likely to be shaped by the outcome of the consultation.

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “I welcome the City of Edinburgh Council’s innovative plans to intensify the availability of electric vehicle charge points across our capital.

“The number of ultra-low emission cars newly registered in Scotland has increased by 64% over the past year compared to 38% in the same period in the rest of the UK.

“This is a positive step which responds to the uptake in electric vehicles and supports our commitment to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032.”


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