Scotland has hit a major milestone as the number of electric-vehicle charging points reached 1,000 as petrol stations close down.

Campaigners have welcomed the continued development of the electric charging network as it brings Scotland’s drivers closer to adopting electric vehicles as standard.

ChargePlace Scotland, the network of charge points funded by the 
Scottish Government, now has more than 1,000 publicly accessible charge points for electric vehicles, including more than 200 rapid chargers. 

Amid the growing number of electric charge points, one-third of independent filling stations has closed, according to the Petrol Retailers Association.

The average distance between any given location and the nearest charge point is now 2.78 miles in Scotland – compared to 3.77 in England.

The network has grown steadily since 2013 when it had only 55 chargers. 

Last year just over 250 points were installed, with another 300 expected to be added this year.

This exceeds the Government’s 2018 programme that committed to deliver 150 new public charge points across Scotland. John Bynorth, of Environmental Protection Scotland, said: “We are only a few years away from the crossover point where electric and hybrid vehicles will take over in popularity from diesel 
or petrol engine cars on Scotland’s roads.

“The biggest decider for motorists, especially those who travel long distances, is that they feel confident about not running out of electricity. People will soon realise that range is not a problem.

“The battery range of many electric vehicles is around 80 to 150 miles for some models. With that kind of range, you won’t need as many chargers as you need petrol stations for petrol and diesel vehicles.”

HeraldScotland: Camley's cartoon: The number of electric car charging points soarsCamley's cartoon: The number of electric car charging points soars

Gavin Thomson of Friends of the Earth said: “Electric vehicles are a significant part of the solution to tackling the toxic air pollution that comes from the fossil-fuelled cars that are choking our streets. 

“It is certainly welcome to see the growth in charging points, which will go some way to alleviating the ‘range anxiety’ that many drivers feel about switching to electric vehicles. 

“The combination of the climate emergency and the devastating public health impacts of air pollution means the Scottish Government must back a concerted roll-out of these power points.”

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson announced the figure yesterday as he visited East Ayrshire Council’s first fully electric car park on Waterside Street in Kilmarnock

He said: “The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is central to our energy strategy, our climate change plan and our goal of making Scotland’s air quality the best in Europe. It’s fantastic that Scotland now benefits from over 1,000 charge points, including close to two hundred 50 kilowatt rapid chargers.”

ChargePlace Scotland charge points are owned and maintained by local authorities or commercial premises that are responsible for maintaining and servicing them.

But campaigners agreed it was vital to ensure homes in urban areas had access to points and drivers were awarded grants for vehicles and home charging units.

Neil Greig, from IAM RoadSmart, said: “A more intensive network of charging points is a key requirement for the growth of electric vehicles, so this milestone will be welcomed by anyone thinking of making the change.  

“However, it is vital that the actual consumer experience matches the rhetoric. Protecting grants for home charging, swift repair of broken machines, ending confusing tariff charges and relieving charge point congestion all need to be part of this investment to really convince the vast majority of drivers to make the change. 

“Nearly everyone in Scotland could probably run an electric car but the positives must consistently outweigh the negatives to meet the Scottish Government’s target.”