EVA Scotland call on the Scottish Government to bring forward the date for no more need for new petrol or diesel car or van sales

19th Jul 2020


I know that’s 5 years to get infrastructure etc in place, but do you think we will get feasible electric vehicles in this time, a decent off road car things like that. Also vans might be a larger issue. I haven’t seen any large electric vans available yet that are mass produced, but wonder about the cost with the need for larger batteries to carry a load a decent distance.
I think the biggest issue the industry still faces is the price of the new vehicles. The aren’t enough used cars to push the price down to within affordable limits. It will be interesting to see how much things change over the next 5 years. There has been some change over the last 4 years I’ve had an EV but no where Near enough to get rid of ICE vehicles for the mass market yet.

I am at a loss to describe my thoughts on your contribution to this article other than it shows a great naivety. Firstly we are Scotland, renowned for our climate and sparse population so arguing for everyone to walk or cycle 20 miles in horizontal rain is stupid. Secondly what car manufacturer is going to look at the actions of the Scottish Government and rush through the introduction of cheaper electric vehicles by 2025. None, our market is too small and any such vehicles would need to be in development already.

I would have hoped that your contribution would have been better balanced and not seemed to be minority interest group chanting at the top of its voice. You have done the EV revolution no favours. I own one, I love it, I see the future but there are significant challenges. I will not be renewing membership

While setting ambitious targets can be a good way to focus efforts and bring results sooner, the fundamentals need to be sound.  Legislation out of step will not work.  Will we ban people purchasing elsewhere, will others be blocked from bring ICU powered transport to deliver goods and visit to support tourism?  Just the tip of the issues this approach generates.  The way forward is to improve the infrastructure, keep incentives to use electricity at a irresistible levels and that way we will lead the change.  If the manufacturers can see that electric transport is the favourite choice in Scotland and people want it, they will service the demand.  When the rest of the UK (and Europe) see it working in Scotland, they too will push the political agenda. 

It has to be “build it and they will come”


I cannot agree more with both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Currie. Precisely which Scotland, indeed which UK do you live in? It is becoming increasingly difficult to charge vehicles and the vast majority of units are 11kw AC at best. Installations need to be of the 100kw DC type or better and the existing points upgraded. It is simply naive to expect either drivers to queue for hours to access a charge point then remain for hours to recharge their vehicle. It is equally naive to hope that the infrastructure will be in place by 2025 to ban the sales of ICE vehicles. The Greenmarket hub in Dundee took a year from the start of works to operation let alone the feasibility study, planning permission and project planning phases. All the Hub points are AC with no additional Rapid chargers. Where, precisely, is all this electricity coming from, let alone by 2025?

EV’s, at the moment and even the new emerging models, private or commercial, still do not have the range to be practical in the UK let alone Scotland and its disperse communities. My father-in-law lives in Peterborough, 366 miles away, which on paper is a two stop journey. However that relies on my car being fully charged to start with. The reality is that it is a four stop journey due to the lack of charging points and the battery useage on motorway driving conditions.

Where are the true 4x4 off road vehicles, tow cars, MPV’s, vans, busses, lorries etc? I also ask the question with the caveat, affordable.

As chair of an organisation you should be representing the views of your members and not grandstanding your own opinions. Why not take the opportunity to point out a fundamental error in the government quoted figures for charging points in Scotland. Their figures are correct but they do not take into account that the tri-rapids can only charge 2 cars at once and then only one rapid and one 7/11kw. That although there are four points behind M&S in Perth, only two cars can charge at any one time, and so it goes on. Why not use the platform to hold the government to account and produce “actual” useable charging points data.

Until the infrastructure catches up and shows signs of exceeding demand, there will be no realistic growth in EV sales and therefore no reduction in Vehicle costs due to increased sales. 2032 is quite a challenge, 2025 is completely unachievable and a ridiculous suggestion. I think I will be following Mr. Currie and use my £15 for a nice lunch.

Thanks Alastair, a £15 lunch seems like a great idea.

There is one other point in this rush to ban ICE cars and vans and that is what happens to those vehicles that are still on the roads but are treated more and more as pariahs. Those perhaps on lower incomes who need to commute or operate working vehicles. As an example in the coming few years black cabs will be decommissioned years before their time (some perhaps with 10 years of normal working life left). From an environmental position the waste and CO2 created in their scrapping and the building of new battery vehicles will be immense. There are kits available ( and grants) that will convert these taxis to LPG, in what can only be seen as a very short lived extension, but you cannot put an electric drivetrain in as the DVLA will not reclassify the vehicle as electric. Imagine if that was an option for everyone with a perfectly good 5 year old car who does not have the means to pay £30k plus to get a new electric car, Perhaps some effort in lobbying the government to deal with this practical, though niche, solution to widen EV uptake in an affordable and environmentally friendly way would be more appropriate than grandstanding.

Thank you all for your points.  We are happy to see the article stimulate discussion, disappointed that we had no sight of the editorial version before it went to press. 
There are significant efforts underway across the globe looking at models that support this date.  It is the declared date of Norway https://elbil.no/english/norwegian-ev-policy/  and the Netherlands https://insideevs.com/news/329416/netherlands-moves-to-only-allow-ev-sales-by-2025-end-of-gas-petrol/, so Scotland would not be a lone voice.  Our voice in isolation is not going to achieve the changes required, but as part of a larger group, the influence on manufacturers is much more apparent.  In some respects, we are falling behind Europe, particularly in the area of incentives.  “If you build it they will come” has been a mantra we have been using in most of our interactions with all of the bodies we interact with for many years.  It has been shown repeatedly to hold true.
Several manufacturers have been open about ending development of ICE vehicles including Lotus https://insideevs.com/news/428516/lotus-focus-electric-car-only-manufacturer/.
The need for affordable EVs is one that is clear, but is not something European OEMs have as yet shown a great deal of interest in, at least in Europe.  https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/renault/zoe/106673/new-renault-k-ze-2019-review  https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/dacia/109132/new-dacia-spring-electric-confirmed-arrive-next-year The vehicles that are needed here are not long range, high mileage offerings , but small battery, short range (c 100mile) vehicles for commuting, the school run and use in town.  Being smaller they offer a sustainable approach, with significantly less space taken on the roads.  Chinese manufacturers are already in this market with their eyes firmly on Europe.  The evidence already shows in the value of offerings from MG.  https://www.jato.com/shanghai-2019-chinese-ev-demand-boosted-by-cheaper-cars/  This represents a paradigm shift in the car ownership model for many, but it is one of the keys to a sustainable model for travel.  While the politics are a huge influence, accessing external markets is a key part of their overall strategy.
In terms of affordable tow cars, this is a bigger challenge.  One potential option that addresses this is the rental of larger vehicles for when they are required.  This would be a new market area, but one that could be enfolded by the current ownership models that dominate the market. 
The 2025 date is a target to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Scotland.  It is not a ban on using them.  We expect many of those vehicles to be in use for some years. We are also lobbying for grant funding for conversions for both cars, light vans, buses and taxis.  We wholly agree that to scrap these vehicles would be an unacceptable waste.  There are a growing number of vehicle converters in the UK, but for car conversions the pricing is currently significant.  For a taxi it would be a viable investment.  In the bus sector eTrofit Gmbh offer a conversion service for diesel buses, with reduced running costs and extended life resulting in a commercially viable product.  There is work ongoing, particularly by Baroness Worthington, to resolve the situation with the DVLA regarding reclassification of a vehicle.  We have also lobbied for and are awaiting implementation of a second hand EV loan, something the Scottish Government has recognised as a key part of equitable access to EVs through the breadth of society.
In terms of infrastructure, utility companies are evolving to address some of the issues around infrastructure.  Much work is out of sight, but it is significant and will be seen in forthcoming exemplar projects.  One of the commercial challenges in infrastructure is that with current levels of use, very few charge points are commercially successful.  The Tesla model illustrates that there is a significant onus on the OEMs to work alongside utilities and governments to support the uptake of EVs.  Ionity is one response to this. 
In terms of charge point metrics, we have presented what we believe is a more meaningful model that we would prefer to see used.  We will continue to lobby on this.
We fully support active travel and use of public transport as they are shown in the Transport Scotland travel hierarchy.  We also acknowledge that it cannot be for everyone.  The Friends of the Earth position in the article looking to enhance public transport and active travel routes is something that we consider particularly beneficial in urban and suburban areas, with access to ebikes in particular helping address the challenges of cycling in the Scottish weather

We look forward to watching the discussion unfold.

Reply to Neil Swanson. I did make the point that the change to EV’s must be affordable and that we need the infrastructure to make it viable. Neither of these conditions are met or being planned to be met.

You mention Norway and the Netherlands as examples of countries with a 2025 target date. Dealing with Norway first. They put in place the infrastructure first, between 2009-10 and currently have 15,629 charging points as at 20/7/20. The Netherlands did much the same thing and as at December 2019 had 40,957 (at December 2019), charging points. In Scotland as of today we have 1743 in total.

Norway is 4.5 times the area of Scotland,  has the same number number of ev’s, 9x the number of charge points or approximately 1.4 charge points per car. Netherlands, 0.5x the area of scotland,  45k ev’s or 4.5x the number of ev’s, almost 23 times the number of charge points or approximately 1 charge point per car. Compare both of these with scotland where we have nearly 6 cars per charge point.

I now turn to affordability. In Norway an eGolf costs less than the equivalent ICE Golf (33k euro against 34k euro). In the uk the the e golf is £11k more expensive. In Norway there is no VAT (@ 25%), no road tax irrespective of car otr price, 50% reduction in parking, road tolls, ferry fares, 40% off company car tax and financial compensation for ICE scrappage. We have a £3000 grant, no tax if the car is under £40k and company car tax breaks. That’s a lot of parking and taxes to make up £11,000.

There is nothing special about the MG, in terms of the cars coming to market today the MG is about 3 years behind the times in terms of spec, performance and most importantly, range. And although not too expensive it is still £13k or almost twice as expensive as the ICE model (£15k -v- £28k). As we have fallen out with China and we are no longer part of the “Europe” they are targeting, they will not be rushing to manufacture a very small number of RHD cars just for us. The honeymoon period for Nissan, BMW and Renault is over due to other manufacturers entering the market place. Even as the number of vehicles sold increases the number per manufacturer will be in comparison lower than that enjoyed previously by these three manufacturers.

In short the examples you quote, to justify the comments made and the opinion voiced, are about 10 years ahead of us, installed the infrastructure first and have made it a cheaper and more affordable alternative to own an EV compared to the ICE alternative. Clearly I am supporting the move to EV’s but I have just walked away from a replacement for our other car being electric for all these reasons. Until you can travel from Inverness to London without charging, can recharge quickly (minutes), can recharge where and when you need to and do not have to remortgage to but the car, then EV’s are not truly viable and certainly not in 53 months time.

Unless that happens I will simply by an ICE vehicle elsewhere, England, Ireland etc and import it. Mr. Perry has the correct approach, the carrot, not the big stick. Make ownership irresistible and the public will forgive temporary shortcomings and be patient. Graeme Currie’s second post, like his first, also make a lot of sense. No doubt LPG will be the next target and conversion to electric is largely not cost viable, although I note that the new Dacia Duster comes as standard as an LPG variant.

I remember the growth of the mobile phone network. I was on Orange and forgave them the network issues because they saved me about £37pm for our two phones. That was 30 years ago and lasted for 2 years until they built their full network coverage. That is the approach this Association should be lobbying for and not putting words into my mouth and those of the other members. Next time you, the Association, go grandstanding, at least make sure that you speak for the membership the fact that you didn’t see the final copy is irrelevant.

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