Edinburgh blazes green trail with new electric vehicle infrastructure plan
A pioneering plan to introduce a strategic, citywide network of electric vehicle charging points will be considered by councillors this week [Thurs 4 October 2018].
Edinburgh is the first city in the UK to put forward such an ambitious and comprehensive Electric Vehicle Infrastructure business case, amid a growing popularity of electric cars among city residents.
The City of Edinburgh Council and Transport Scotland commissioned the Energy Savings Trust (EST) to prepare the business case, which will go before the Transport and Environment Committee on 4 October 2018.
Electric vehicle uptake is rising rapidly across the UK and Edinburgh has more than 23% of all licensed electric vehicles in Scotland.
In the business case, the EST proposes that by 2023, the Capital will need to install 211 new charging points at a cost of £3.4m. [NB the city is predicted to have nearly 10,000 residential and commercial electric vehicles by 2023, however it is assumed that many of these users will have access to driveways and garages for home charging and will not need access to public infrastructure.]
The majority of these charging points will be “fast chargers” for on-street residential charging, although there will also be some charging facilities for taxis and at park and ride sites.
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.”
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.”
The business case follows the innovative zonal approach set out in the Council’s Electric Vehicle Action Plan, which would see infrastructure installed in three strategic charging zones: Zone 1 (City Centre), Zone 2 (Residential areas) and Zone 3 (Peripheral – eg Park and Ride sites).
A total of 68 locations hosting multiple charging points have been identified across the Capital, creating strategic charging hubs for users.
The predicted environmental benefits for the city include carbon savings of 7,715 tonnes and savings in Nitrogen Dioxide of over 14 tonnes by 2023.
The Council has applied to Transport Scotland’s Switched On Towns and Cities fund for £2m towards upgrading electric vehicle infrastructure in Edinburgh.
If the business case is approved by councillors, a work programme will be developed that will detail the final list of locations, costs, timelines and all associated works including liaison with Scottish Power as the network provider. This will also detail the delivery model and management of the project.
A six week consultation period is proposed with a range of stakeholders, to help select charging locations from the long list of sites identified as suitable.
In 2011, there were only nine electric vehicles in the Capital, compared with 489 by June 2017. Charging points also increased from eight in 2013 to 89 by October 2017, of which 58 are publicly available. Compared to conventional cars, electric vehicles emit substantially fewer carbon emissions. The vehicles are also cleaner with far fewer exhaust emissions, meaning they deliver direct air quality improvements.