City progresses plan for more electric car sockets

The number of electric charging points in the city is to increase. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The number of electric charging points in the city is to increase. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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PLUGS for electric cars are set to sprout up across the city under plans to encourage residents to ditch their gas-guzzlers and get the latest zero-emissions vehicles.

Charging points for electric buses will also be fast-tracked, targeting roads with the worst air pollution levels where older buses with dirtier engines are the worst culprits.

A pilot scheme to erect charging points next to City Car Club parking bays in Marchmont and Sciennes will be put before councillors, with support offered by the Scottish Government.

Edinburgh is Scotland’s electric car hotspot, with over 120 electric vehicles operating in the Capital out of a Scottish total of 1100. The city also has the best-used network of charging points, with a survey finding that every single one of the 38 sockets in the city was used at least once over the course of a month last year.

Demand for new charging points has been strong, with transport convener councillor Lesley Hinds saying several businesses had approached the city to ask for more to be set up.

She said: “The council is determined to improve Edinburgh’s air quality and achieve carbon emissions targets. We know electric cars are growing in popularity so it’s appropriate that we look at ways to provide further infrastructure to help encourage more people to opt for the new technology.

“The proposed pilot will also help us respond to requests from residents and businesses who are keen to see more on-street charging points brought in.”

City Car Club spokeswoman Vicky Shipway said the move would allow the firm to introduce more electric cars into its fleet.

She said: “We really welcome this, and we’re very excited that it’s happening. This is exactly what we would encourage every local authority partner to do.

“By improving the infrastructure for electric vehicles, residents will be encouraged to try out an electric car and perhaps buy one for themselves, or maybe give up their petrol or diesel car to use a City Car Club electric car.”

If the plan is signed off by councillors on the city’s transport committee on Tuesday, a consultation will be launched to get residents’ views on where the charging points should be placed.

Parking regulations will also need to be amended so that bays near the charging points can be kept clear for electric cars needing to top up their batteries, meaning the earliest that the sockets will appear is late 2016.

The plans were welcomed by local Green Party councillor for Southside/Newington Steve Burgess, who said the pilot would be a welcome addition to the city’s “woefully inadequate” charging 
infrastructure.

Cllr Burgess said: “We need more charging points to give people the incentive to use electric cars in Edinburgh. The facilities for electric car charging in the city as they stand are woefully inadequate.”