Scotland’s electric vehicle charge point network is set to receive a boost with the launch of a new fund aimed at driving sustainable travel in the tourism industry.
The £325,000 Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund, part of the Destination Net Zero programme, will support around 100 charge points by providing tourism businesses with up to 75% of the cost of installation.
It will be administered by Energy Saving Trust on behalf of national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, and the Scottish Government, and is open to all tourism small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The number of new plug-in vehicles registered in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. As of March, 22.2% of new registered vehicles were electric – bringing the number of electric vehicles on the road to more than 700,000.
While 72% of Scotland residents use their own petrol/diesel car when taking breaks and holidays in Scotland, according to VisitScotland research, 43% are interested in changing to electric/hybrid “within the next few years”, with price and fears around sufficient charging points among the main obstacles.
The UK has more than 50,000 EV connectors in 18,000 different locations, 10% of which are located in Scotland, which has the highest number of public charge points by population (per 100,000 inhabitants).
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 will be encouraging businesses within areas where EV charge points are limited to apply for the fund.
Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to reaching our ambitious climate change targets and reaching net zero by 2045.
“This funding will play a significant role in helping businesses install the charging points, which will in turn make driving an electric car further appealing, as well as aiding the decarbonisation of the transport system across Scotland.”
Rob Dickson, director of industry and destination development at VisitScotland and chair of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG), said: “Tackling climate change is the biggest challenge 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.
“Taking action on climate change will not only reduce costs and build resilience, but it will meet the increasing consumer demand for responsible and sustainably focused businesses ”
Neil Leckie, senior programme manager at Energy Saving Trust, added: “We know that both the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the transition to a greener, more sustainable way of operating are important priorities for Scotland’s tourism industry.
“We’re pleased to be delivering this new funding which will support businesses in the transition to electric vehicles and give a boost to sustainable travel overall, helping Scotland’s drive towards achieving its net zero targets.”
The fund will provide a one-off payment to tourism businesses towards the installation of an electric vehicle charge point. There is limited funding available, and it will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Applications are open from today and will close on 8 September.
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