Scotland has the most comprehensive public charging network in the United Kingdom outside London, with close to 3,000 public charge points, of which at least 740 are rapid chargers. Our focus is on growing that network so that it works seamlessly wherever you live or need to get to.
Our priorities are threefold: to encourage commercial investment through our new £60 million electric vehicle infrastructure programme; to introduce regulations on charge point installation in new buildings and developments; and to work with communities and designers to make charging as simple and reliable as visiting your local filling station.
One of the key things that I am hearing from electric vehicle users in my constituency is that we need more EV charging points, and that we need to make sure that the existing ones are reliable. Can the minister explain how the electric vehicle infrastructure fund will help to increase the number of charging points in my constituency?
Our new fund will at least double the number of charge points over the next few years. For constituencies such as Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, our focus is on working with commercial providers so that investment will target gaps in the network, and not just areas of high traffic.
In that regard, it is true to say that we will require to leverage private investment to support some of that work, but we will also need to work with our local authority partners in order to make sure that that works. Funding is, of course, available to all 32 councils, including the council in Mr Fairlie’s constituency.
In relation to developing the EV charging strategy and the infrastructure plans, as Mr Fairlie has correctly pointed out, reliability is front and centre in people’s minds when they are considering the switch to an electric car or van. Although the reliability of the ChargePlace Scotland network is typically high, I know that any unavailable charge point is a source of frustration and that that can also be an inconvenience. As we roll out our new fund, we will work with providers to deliver a network that works for everyone, whenever they need it.