Drive to boost EV charge point network

People choosing to drive electric vehicles will be able to explore Scotland with greater confidence, as almost 200 charge points are set to be installed near popular tourist routes, VisitScotland has announced.

A total of 92 tourism businesses successfully applied for the Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund which will support 194 charge points across Scotland.

Part of the Destination Net Zero programme, the Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund was administered by Energy Saving Trust on behalf of national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, and the Scottish Government.

It provided tourism businesses with up to 75% of the cost of installation to improve the network of charge points across Scotland and encourage responsible tourism practices with both visitors and businesses.

The new charge points will be located across 20 local authorities, with a third in the Highlands and Orkney, and the majority at self-catering businesses.

Micro and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) were eligible to apply to the £325k fund which opened in May on a first-come first-served basis.

Due to their lower running costs, electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly attractive part of the sustainable travel mix. In addition to choosing public transport and active travel, they are a crucial step in decarbonising the transport system, improving air quality, and contributing to Scotland’s climate target of achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

According to VisitScotland research, 72% of Scotland residents use their own petrol/diesel car when taking breaks and holidays in Scotland. However, 43% are interested in changing to electric/hybrid “within the next few years”, with price and concerns around sufficient charging points among the main obstacles.

Energy Saving Trust mapped the location of EV charge points on some of Scotland’s popular driving routes, on behalf of VisitScotland. It found a total of 1,933 charge points within five miles of a tourist route, which include the South West Coastal 300, North East 250 and North Coast 500. VisitScotland encouraged businesses within areas where EV charge points are limited to apply for the fund.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “We are committed to becoming a world leader in 21st century tourism, as set out in our National Tourism Strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030. The announcement of these new charging points will allow visitors and locals to explore Scotland’s beauty spots in a sustainable and environment friendly manner.

“We have a bold commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030. To meet our climate targets, not only do we need to see more people choosing to travel by public transport and active travel – but people who choose to drive must have the confidence to choose electric. That’s why this investment is so welcome, as it supports sustainable tourism options while also supporting our commitment to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.”

Rob Dickson, Director of Industry & Destination Development at VisitScotland, said: “Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing Scottish tourism now, and in the future, and we want to inspire future generations to say that Scottish tourism led the way and made a difference.

“The popularity of the Fund shows tourism businesses have a clear understanding of the importance of transitioning to a low carbon economy and the benefits to offering visitors a sustainable transport alternative. 

“By working together, we can help Scotland become a world-class destination, and the best destination for responsible tourism.”

Neil Leckie, Senior Programme Manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: "The tourism industry is a vital part of our economy, so it’s encouraging to see that the fund is being so well utilised by Scottish tourism businesses. 

“Improving Scotland’s infrastructure to support the use of electric vehicles is a crucial part of achieving our net zero emissions targets and the installation of new chargepoints in more remote destinations is undoubtedly a positive step towards these goals."

For more information on Destination Net Zero visit: 

*Scotland Residents’ Survey: