The Highlands & Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans) is to It has secured funding of £1.5m, which will be used to deliver a network of 24 charging points on the west coast of the Highlands & Islands to break down the main barriers to ownership of electrical vehicles in rural communities.
Hitrans intends to employ two new members of staff to deliver the project, which has attracted both European funding and support from the Scottish government. Units will be installed in Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Argyll and Bute and the Western Isles at locations yet to be confirmed.
It has tapped into a European collaboration to help deliver the Faster project - Facilitating a Sustainable Transition to Electric Vehicles in the Regions. The project will assist with analysis of the planning and procurement requirements needed to kick-start a commercial charging service. Ireland and Northern Ireland are included in the project partnership.
Faster aims to ensure that the availability of charging stations is not a major obstacle to EV market penetration. The project involves carrying out the design and analysis, procurement, installation and operation of 73 rapid chargers (50kW capacity) across the three countries.
Lochaber councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of Hitrans, said the Faster project was the latest in a growing number of environmentally-friendly European projects that Hitrans was involved in. He said: “We are committed to delivering practical projects which contribute towards the greening of transport in our diverse and rural area. Faster will share best practice for deploying charge points and promote sustainable transport in the region. We are leading on the design and procurement work package, and it is expected that we will install 24 rapid charge points or more if budget allows.”
He said that preliminary work has been conducted on possible locations for the chargers and discussions were ongoing with Transport Scotland and project partner Strathclyde University (engaging with SSE Networks) to ensure locations were chosen wisely and in line with grid capacity and existing infrastructure.