A Scots technology firm hopes to tackle the ‘range anxiety’ that deters many people from switching to electric cars with backing from ScottishPower.

Sanctus Media has launched an Android app that will allow drivers to locate the nearest available high-speed charging point.

The WattsUp app is expected to encourage more people to switch to electric cars, by helping tackle fears they may have about batteries running flat miles from a charging point.

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Mike Gill of Sanctus decided to develop the app after making the switch himself.

“I was an early adopter and got an electric car a few years ago but they need to be adopted by the mass market,” he said.

“We wanted to make a product that was easy for people to use to see the charging points that were available to take away some of the range anxiety that people can feel.”

Bo’ness-based Sanctus developed WattsUp with £36,000 support from a fund established by ScottishPower’s networks arm to encourage the move to a low-carbon economy.

“It ticked all the boxes for us,” said Scott Mathieson of SP Energy Networks about WattsUp.

He added: “One of the public’s main concerns about electric vehicles is the availability of charging points. WattsUp shows users in real time where they can charge and when. This tool is invaluable in making low-carbon transport accessible to everyone.”

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Mr Mathieson noted Scotland is relatively well-served in terms of the number of charging points. It has 2,306 units representing 17 per cent of the British total.

“The thing is people need to know where they are,” he said.

The launch of the app highlights the role that small and medium sized enterprises are playing in the development of technologies that could support the drive to cut carbon emissions.

Founded ten years ago, Sanctus has five employees.

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Giants see big potential in the electric vehicle market.

One of the big six firms that dominate the household energy supply business in the UK, ScottishPower reckons the best commercial prospects lie in renewable energy.

The company sold its conventional generating business to Drax in a £700 million in October.

Four months later Spanish-owned ScottishPower unveiled plans to invest £2 billion in clean energy in the UK this year.

The programme will include installing electric vehicle charging points across Scotland and building more windfarms.

ScottishPower said at the time it wanted to play a key role in the push to cut carbon emissions by helping electrify the economy where it mattered most: in transport and heating.

Deloitte has said a shortage of public charging points will deter the adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.

It predicted the rate of adoption would take off in the early to mid-2020s as the cost of EVs achieved parity with internal combustion engine-powered cars and a wider range of models offering improved mileage per charge became available

In a report the consultancy said: “In our central estimates, we assume seven million EVs in circulation, requiring around 28,000 public charging points.” Deloitte noted the potential appeal of apps that could help EV owners identify empty charging points and book charging sessions.

Sanctus won funding from the £20m Green Economy Fund established by SP Energy Networks last year.

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This has provided support for over 30 projects.Other recipients include Lanarkshire-based PeddleSMART, which is developing electric bicycles that could be used for delivering goods.

Sanctus launched an iOS version of WattsUp for use on Apple devices last year. This has been down-loaded by more than 2,000 users.The Green Economy Fund supported the development of an Android version, which can be used on devices made by a range of firms including Samsung.