ARGYLL and Bute is revealed today as a plugged-in place when it comes to electric cars. Across the UK, the area came second in a survey of second-hand electric or hybrid vehicle sales. Indeed, Scotland took six of the top 20 places, prompting car data experts Cazana to describe the country’s drivers as “eco champions”.

But just as significant as the national dimension is the finding that, across the UK, rural areas are leading the way in buying electric vehicles. This suggests that drivers are overcoming “range anxiety”: a fear of not having enough power for longer journeys.

That can be overcome by supplying plentiful public charging points, and it’s no accident that Argyll and Bute has been investing in these, with no fewer than five on the island of Mull. Across Scotland, the number of public charging points is nearing 1,000, and the Scottish Government has ambitious plans for an “Electric A9”.

However, the road to full electrification remains a long one while time is relatively short before the Scottish Government’s deadline for phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles: 2032, eight years before the UK Government’s 2040 target.

Both governments provide incentives for councils to provide charging points and motorists to make the switch. However, a feeling persists that not enough is being done to make motorists aware of the benefits. Most know it’ll be good for the environment but aren’t sure of the personal benefits.

They need to know that electric vehicles are cheaper to run, that they’re exempt from road tax, and that grants towards home-chargers are available. At the same time, private companies should be encouraged to provide charging points for their employees, and these should become more widely available at shopping centres, libraries and multiplexes. The evidence from Argyll and Bute suggests that, if you provide charging points, electronic motorists will come.

None of which is to suggest that electric motoring is perfect. Trickle charging points in people’s homes are more viable for those with drives than those in tenements. There’s the possible strain on the national grid from mass overnight charging. There’s a need to train engineers to work on electric cars. There’s the loss of tax revenues from fossil-fuel vehicles. Even with more charging stations, there will still be frequent stops for longer journeys. It’s not even clear how Scotland can ban petrol or diesel cars ahead of the rest of the UK when vehicle registration isn’t devolved.

But we are sure such problems can be overcome. Electric motoring has had teething problems since its first journeys in the late 19th century. But it has been picking up speed ever since, and now the future is coming down the road fast.