SNP ministers hope to double the number of public electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the next few years with a new £60 million fund – but have been warned they will fall short of the 4,000 annual plugs needed to meet growing demand.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said half of the money needed to roll out the green infrastructure would come from the private sector.

Speaking in Holyrood, he said the ChargePlace Scotland network currently provided 2,100 public charging points around Scotland, the largest such network in the UK outside of London.

In December, electric cars made up 21.4 per cent of all new car sales.

Mr Matheson said: “By 2030 we might expect there to be between 500,000 and one million electric vehicles and from then it will not be possible to buy a new petrol or diesel car or van.”

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Announcing the new fund, he said: “We can anticipate this investment doubling the size of Scotland’s existing network of charging points over the next few years.

“This new fund will draw in and smooth commercial investment so that the future charging network is there to work for everyone.”

The fund would ensure charging points were installed in remote and deprived areas, he said.

In July last year, a report from Transport Scotland said an estimated 30,000 charge points would be needed by 2030 as demand for plug-in vehicles increases.

Scottish Conservative MSP, Liam Kerr, mentioned this report, saying: “That means we need to be installing around 4,000 a year.

“But despite the fact that I stood here in September and made exactly this point, all we have here is an intention to double the network over the next few years.”

Scottish Labour MSP, Colin Smith, said some guidance had suggested a ratio of one public charge point per 10 EVs, meaning between 50,000 and 100,000 could be needed by 2030.

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He said: “Does the Cabinet Secretary accept that today’s announcement won’t deliver 30,000, never mind 50,000, of those public charging points?”

Mr Matheson acknowledged that meeting the demand would be “a significant challenge because it’s a significant piece of infrastructure that needs to be put in place”.

Seeking to double the current number showed the scale of the Government’s ambition, he said.