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Context of the guide

The programme to support the electric vehicle infrastructure guide was launched as part of Energy Saving Trust’s Scottish transport workplan in 2021/22, and continued through 2022/23 with the inclusion of bi-monthly public electric vehicle infrastructure forum webinars.

The programme’s key output is this general reference guide for public charging infrastructure projects, intended for the use of organisations across Scotland.

We have developed this guidance to support the effective planning, design and implementation of public charging infrastructure projects. It has been informed by our engagement with those who already have experience in the delivery of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Scotland and beyond.

This guidance complements key Scottish government transport decarbonisation policy and strategy. This includes Transport Scotland’s draft vision for ‘A network fit for the future’.

The guidance will continually evolve, as we update existing and add new content, to ensure it remains current and relevant to the rapidly advancing electric vehicle technology industry.

How was it developed?

As a way to structure collection of information for this guidance, we first identified area-specific ‘themes’, and reached out to stakeholders with a connection to these or in regions where one of these themes was particularly salient. Areas tied to each of these themes are characterised by different, specific challenges regarding the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The themes we applied were:

  • Islands
  • Rural areas
  • Urban areas and commuter towns
  • Just transition areas

‘Just transition areas’ are those where we need to focus particular attention to ensure they are not left behind in the transition to electric transport. The higher upfront cost of electric vehicles still puts them out of reach for many.

Taking this initial thematic approach helped ensure that the information we collected was as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. While we have not structured the guidance herein according to these themes, we do make occasional reference to them where they have strong relevance to a particular point being made.

The spread of transport challenges across theme areas outlines many of the key considerations identified that impact on the development of a sustainable transport system generally and/or electric vehicle charging infrastructure specifically. This has been informed by our engagement activity.

Engagement activity

Gathering the information that would go on to make up the contents of this guidance involved extensive external engagement activity. We carried this out through the following steps:

  • Hosting four separate stakeholder workshop sessions, each focused on a different one of the themes discussed
  • Holding in-depth interview-style conversations following on from the workshops, with attendees whose projects we identified as potentially containing important information additional to that harvested in the workshop. As well as conversations with leaders of projects that received support from the Switched on Towns and Cities Challenge Fund and Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund programmes
  • Holding similar conversations with other individuals and organisations not in the workshops, but involved in projects relevant to topics covered in this guidance
  • Distributing a questionnaire to local authorities, regional transport partnership members and other stakeholders not involved in the original workshops. This was designed to gather further insights based on the recipients’ experience planning and installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Engaging internally with various expert Energy Saving Trust colleagues
  • Carrying out additional research to supplement information in topic areas the previous steps had not fully developed, and keeping up to date with the latest developments in the industry

Spread of transport challenges across theme areas

Listed in the image below are a range of challenges and key considerations that our engagement on the EVIG programme identified as being relevant across the different theme areas. Note that these aren’t exclusively related to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, they represent challenges to the development of sustainable transport in general. The material in this guidance document explores these challenges amongst the various sections covered.

Spread of transport challenges across theme areas