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There is increasing interest in using partnerships to fund chargepoint installations as part of Scotland’s overall strategy for developing the country’s public charging network.

The ChargePlace Scotland (CPS) network is shifting towards pay-as-you-go as the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads makes free use increasingly untenable. The Scottish government is reducing direct funding for this network, wishing instead to see the private sector take an active part in the development of public charging infrastructure in Scotland. As such, the long term future of CPS is uncertain. The high costs of higher-powered chargers and the grid upgrades they necessitate in particular make continued funding exclusively through the public purse challenging.

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has been commissioned to examine alternative delivery models for the expansion of the public electric vehicle charging network in Scotland and to explore ways in which private capital can be mobiles in this sector to lessen the need for public subsidy. We provide an overview of SFT’s work in this section.

Scottish futures trust support

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is an arms-length company owned by the Scottish government. It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure investment and use in Scotland by working collaboratively with public bodies and industry, leading to better value for money and providing the opportunity to maximise the investment in the fabric of Scotland.

SFT has been working with Transport Scotland on electric vehicle infrastructure delivery. In the summer of 2021, a joint report identified a need to develop alternative delivery models which create opportunities for greater private sector investment and involvement in electric vehicle charging infrastructure through partnership approaches with local authorities. The report is available for download from Transport Scotland’s website.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund (EVIF)

Following the publication of the report, SFT has worked closely with Transport Scotland to develop a new programme to deliver electric vehicle infrastructure at scale in a manner which can attract private sector investment and lessen the need for public subsidy in this sector. This work has been informed by engagement with both local authorities and the private sector.

This funding programme, known as the electric vehicle infrastructure fund (EVIF), is delivered by Transport Scotland and is only available to local authorities. Transport Scotland is allocating £140k to each of Scotland’s local authorities over a four-year cycle (2022-2025), with £60k of this available in 2022/23 for early planning.

SFT is supporting the local authorities in the development of their public electric vehicle charging strategies and network expansion plans for this funding.

Our electric vehicle infrastructure guide (EVIG) and bi-monthly public charging infrastructure forums are designed to complement this process.

As part of EVIF, SFT commissioned the spatial analysis consultancy Field Dynamics to build a toolkit authorities can use to complement and help validate their own data sets and planning assumptions.

To allow each local authority to access data relevant to their area, a collaboration zone, hosted on a secure Microsoft SharePoint site, was established. For each local authority, the information available comprises several datasets, models, GIS Files and access to site selection software including:

  • Current high level plug-in vehicle statistics and research on the current electric vehicle infrastructure landscape, driver behaviours and future adoption.
  • Forecast demand for 2026 and 2030 and associated adoption curve detail.
  • Electric vehicle map – a dataset showing all on-street households within each authority.
  • Projected number of chargepoints required (nearby/on-street and destination chargers) by 2026 and 2030 and ability to model and flex residents’ requirements.
  • Each authority area divided into zones to identify on-street need, commercial sector provision and visitor areas.
  • Summary report providing all background evidence, caveats and justifications.
  • Each local authority’s collaboration zone also provided access to Field Dynamic’s Catchment Modeller which was available for each local authority free of charge for a period of six months.
  • Field dynamics recorded a short video to explain the key elements of and how to use this toolkit. A copy of this video was made available on the EVIF programme web page.  SFT also arranged a follow-up webinar for local authorities who were interested about learning how this data and tool kit can help validate their own data sets and planning assumptions.

Please visit SFT’s website for further information about the EVIF programme.

Pathfinder projects

Prior to the launch of the EVIF programme, six local authority pathfinder initiatives were identified and SFT is supporting these initiatives to consider alternative delivery models for electric vehicle infrastructure.

The locations of each of the pathfinder projects are displayed in the image below.

These projects are still ongoing. It is expected that the progress and outcomes from each of these will provide important insights with respect to funding the public network in future.

Locations of SFT’s pathfinder projects, which are exploring alternative delivery models for electric vehicle infrastructure.