householders are being urged to get free electric car charging points installed in their homes – after it emerged just nine people have taken up the offer in Edinburgh.
Transport Scotland currently pays for power points to be installed at the homes of people who have bought hybrid or fully electric-powered cars.
However the green scheme – introduced in autumn last year, and set to continue until 2015 – has only seen a handful of people take up the £5000 offer.
Transport experts have warned the push towards electric car power is likely to fail –unless charging points become more widespread and the cost of expensive eco-motors themselves is brought down.
Consultant John Curtis, former head of low carbon vehicles and fuels at Transport Scotland, said: “The truth is the majority of people couldn’t actually care less about electric cars right now. They just want something that’s quick and easy.
“Nissan, Honda and all of the major manufacturers are seeing that take-up rates for electric vehicles are much slower than they had hoped. Partly that’s due to the cost, but greatly that’s due to apathy.”
To jump-start the market, Transport Scotland wants domestic charge points to be built in all new council homes and funding offered to major developers so charge points are included as a standard fitting in all new-build homes.
Mr Curtis said the Scottish Government must also make it a requirement for all businesses supplying a contracted service to have low-carbon vehicles and for all public car parks to be fitted with charging points for the electric revolution to work.
Charging points already exist at Our Dynamic Earth, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Napier University, Edinburgh College’s Granton campus and Sainsbury’s Longstone store.
A rapid charge unit is currently being installed at the Ingliston park and ride facility. It will be capable of charging cars in as little as 20 minutes. Twelve other sites across Edinburgh including King’s Buildings, Restalrig House, Western General Hospital and Kirkliston Library are getting lesser chargers that will take about four hours to power up an electric car. All charging points across the Lothians are expected to be listed at www.chargeyourcar.org.uk by the end of this year.
City transport vice-convener Councillor Jim Orr said the authority would be investing more money into charging points at council properties. He said: “The proportion of cleaner vehicles will only increase in future years if, as a society, we move towards sustainable transport solutions.”