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Proximity to tourism hotspots

When locating public charging infrastructure, it is worth considering proximity to popular tourism sites or areas. Analysis of the usage data from the chargeplace Scotland network indicates that infrastructure in tourist locations experiences high levels of usage. The public rapid charger in Balloch, on the south-west shore of Loch Lomond, for example, has seen high levels of usage, presumably as a result of tourist traffic. Similarly, Fife Council outlined high usage levels in Anstruther, another area commonly frequented by tourists.

It has also been highlighted that chargepoints in popular tourist areas can support other user groups, such as local resident and business vehicles making journeys across local authority areas/regions. The more user groups that a chargepoint development can be designed to support, the greater the benefit that piece of infrastructure provides. Key tourism routes and destinations could therefore be targeted for public charging infrastructure.

Rural towns with multiple consumer groups

Towns with multiple consumer groups are potential locations to target for public charging infrastructure, for example, rural market towns that are common across Scotland.

Well-designed infrastructure here can bring benefits to the local economy. Journey charging co-located with amenities can support passing traffic, taxis and trades. While destination charging can support the local people, as well as encouraging longer dwell times from some categories of passing drivers who may explore local businesses. In this way, tourism may be further encouraged by the provision of charging infrastructure.

An example town that has followed this path has been Forfar. Its Orchard Loan charging hub includes rapid chargers serving passing traffic from the adjacent A90, and fast chargers servicing the local population’s recreational activities and business sites on the outskirts of the town.

Additional bay space for caravans and campervans

Tourist travel has created more focus on supporting the charging requirements of campervans and caravans, especially with the recent growth in ‘staycationing’. During the electric vehicle infrastructure engagement process, stakeholders identified that existing chargepoint bays may struggle to accommodate the space needs of vehicles towing caravans, trailers or other such items. At present, charge point bays in car parks are typically the same size as standard parking bays. This already often provides challenges to electric van users, and will increasingly also do so for electric campervan models.

The image below shows how East Lothian Council have looked to tackle these challenges with their “pass-either side” electric vehicle charging bays installed at ‘Wallyford Park and Choose’. These can accommodate combinations of electric buses, towing vehicles and vans.

Some privately operated charging hubs have been designed in a drive-through, forecourt style that provides more space between bays. This style of infrastructure could potentially accommodate larger vehicles more effectively and is recommended as a default solution for service areas. However, it might not be feasible in all locations. Where possible, chargepoint allocated spaces in car parks should have bays long enough to accommodate vans.

An alternative solution for vehicles that are towing could be to temporarily detach their load ahead of using charging infrastructure. However, this is likely to prove a logistical challenge, with unhitching on public land potentially creating an obstruction. It may be necessary to instead leave caravans at a dedicated caravan site when charging an electric vehicle, though this might be inconvenient.

Some caravan and holiday parks are already starting to invest in charging infrastructure that accommodates the space requirements of their customers. The caravan and motorhome club have introduced a flat rate for vehicle charging at their sites. Charging is facilitated through connection to a standard power supply outlet. The organisation has recognised the growing need for this service and several sites are now installing dedicated chargepoints.  Further detail on this can be found here.

Two of East Lothian Council’s “pass-either side” EV charging bays located at Wallyford Park and Choose.