THE SCOTTISH Government has warned that a ramping up of electric vehicle chargers will need to be paid for by the private sector – stressing it is “unsustainable” for public bodies to foot the bill.

Officials have also warned that a network of free to use electric chargers will need to charge customers as demand increases over the next decade.

Analysis by the Scottish Government’s statutory advisers, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) estimates that 30,000 extra electric vehicle charging points will be needed in Scotland by 2030 with more than 4,000 needed to be installed each year.

The Scottish Government has committed to become carbon neutral by 2045 and MSPs have pledged to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75% by 2030.

Transport is the biggest contributor of carbon emissions in Scotland and cars make up the largest part of that.

A new report by Transport Scotland has warned that “Scotland is now at a tipping point”, adding that “the number of public charge points will need to increase rapidly to accommodate the number of electric vehicles which will be on the road”.

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The document adds: “Both the scale and pace of investment in public electric vehicle charging infrastructure will need to be accelerated to meet growing demand over the coming years. It is unsustainable for the public sector to meet this challenge on its own.”

The report also highlights the provisions of free to use public charge points, through the ChargePlace Scotland network and a need for a move towards paid-for chargers – adding that “more sustainable financing models are required to remove barriers to private sector investment”.

It adds: “The existence of public funded, tariff free electric vehicle charging provision does not incentivise private investment in public charge points in Scotland, particularly as the commercial case for many charge points will remain marginal in the short-term.”

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The strategy points to longer term needs including “optimising the ability to leverage private investment, skills and resources” and “ensuring that the strengths of the ChargePlace Scotland network are built on in a transition towards a commercial delivery model”.

The report stresses “the need for charge point hosts to review current pricing policies and electric vehicle charging tariffs to reduce public subsidy and, more importantly increase commercial viability of new charging investment, whilst maintaining inclusive access”.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “This report makes clear that as demand for electric vehicles increases, our approach towards the provision of public charging infrastructure must evolve.

“We’ve achieved much through the local authority infrastructure programme and over £45 million pounds has been invested to deliver over 1,800 charge points across Scotland through a single network operator. This has created green jobs and net zero opportunities across the country – but more can still be achieved.”

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He added: “This report is clear that we are now at a tipping point in terms of current demand and future requirements. By retaining the best characteristics that Scotland enjoys through ChargePlace Scotland, the opportunities from inviting greater private sector involvement could be tremendous.

“To meet our world leading climate targets, of course we need to see less car use rather than more.

“For those that need to drive, the opportunities afforded by electric vehicles for our climate and our air quality are profound. If the car is the right tool for transport on some occasions then we need people to have confidence to choose electric. This requires a comprehensive charging network and I’m pleased that this report provides a route map that supports our vision of phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.”