North Ayrshire has joined the electric car revolution with the installation of free charging-points for vehicles at the local Council’s headquarters in Irvine.
The charging-points at Cunninghame House form part of the Scotland-wide ‘Plugged-in Places’ initiative, which seeks to create a network where drivers are never further than 50 miles from a facility to re-charge their car’s battery.
The Council received grant funding from the SNP Scottish Government to install the points on the ‘Charge Your Car Network’. The charging-points are located at the entrance to the Council car park, adjacent to the Tax Office, with the first two spaces designated as ‘electric bays’.
Electric cars can top-up their supply at no cost for up to three hours. All that is required is a one-off fee of £10.00 for a lifetime card, allowing access to all existing and future charge-points on the network. Owners of electric cars should register at chargeyourcar.org.uk to start using the free charge-points.
North Ayrshire resident Robert Smith, treasurer of the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland, is delighted to see the addition of North Ayrshire to the network. Mr Smith said, “I can understand why people may worry about using electric vehicles, but I would definitely encourage them to do so. Like them, I was put off by the initial cost and lack of a suitable charging network. It wasn’t until I sold my car and began using public transport that I really considered this a viable option due to the added commuting times. I travel from North Ayrshire to Glasgow and back each day - a round trip of about 65 miles – and comfortably manage this on one charge.”
Mr Smith pointed out there are no fuel costs or road tax requirement for an electric car, saying, “My only outlay is the monthly payment and a small increase to my electricity bill. It works out about £1.80 per day to travel from Irvine to Glasgow and back again.”
Cllr John Bruce, North Ayrshire’s SNP Cabinet member for Environment and Infrastructure, said, “I am sure everyone recognises the old cliche that electric cars need charging after just a few miles on the road. However, modern technology has ensured this is no more than an old wives’ tale now. There are lots of different options available – from pure electric to petrol/electric hybrid cars.
“This is a good opportunity to encourage more people to consider getting an electric car as a real alternative to petrol and diesel. The installation of free charging-points helps to address concerns about cars running out of power mid-journey by ensuring drivers are always within 50 miles of a rapid charging-point and should never run out of power when travelling in Scotland.”
SNP Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP congratulated the local Council on the installation of two electric vehicle charging-points, adding, “Over the past two years, the Scottish Government has invested over £8 million in electric vehicles and infrastructure in Scotland. Our funding has contributed to the purchase of around 270 public sector low-carbon vehicles and the installation of approximately 300 charging-points. We aim to install a further 200 charging-points in households, workplaces and in publicly accessible locations across Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is keen to ensure that the charging-point network grows naturally in line with the increased adoption of electric vehicles. We will continue to work with stakeholders to determine the most appropriate approach to develop the network in the future as the adoption of electric vehicles progresses.”