Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has urged the Scottish Government to set out plans for improving the maintenance and the reliability of the electric vehicle charging network.
The call came during an exchange last week [Thursday 7 December] in Holyrood with the Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf MSP. Speaking in the chamber, Mr McArthur asked the Transport Minister if he “recognises that key to improving the take-up of EVs is improving the maintenance and the reliability of the network?”
Orkney’s MSP further asked Mr Yousaf to set out what plans the government has to make this happen, and if he would “commit to ensuring that free vend is the default on charging points in order to address some of the problems that have been arising with the network?”
According to Liam McArthur, despite an increase in the availability of rapid and other charge points across the country there are increasing concerns about the way in which these are serviced and maintained.
Responding in the chamber, Mr Yousaf confirmed he shared Mr McArthur’s “ambitions”. He explained that “some of our charging points default to free vend. However, he [Mr McArthur] is absolutely right—having that across the network is a very good idea. I assure him that, after our most recent meeting, when he suggested that to me, my officials are exploring that very idea.”
Following the exchanges, Liam McArthur said:
“It is right that we are ambitious in our plans to encourage greater take up of electric and low emissions vehicles. To be effective, however, we will need to see an expansion of the existing charging network. However, this must go hand in hand with a sharper focus on improving maintenance and reliability of that network.
“Too often drivers turn up at charge points only to find them out of order or offline. As well as the inconvenience caused to those affected, this does nothing to increase public confidence. If a petrol station was out of order people simply would demand action. The same should be the case for EV charge points.
“I therefore welcome the Transport Minister’s confirmation that his officials are exploring free vend. This would ensure drivers are not left in the lurch and also act as a spur to those responsible for carrying out repairs.
“In making the case for the take up of electric and low emissions vehicles, we need to build public confidence. Hopefully this can be a further step along the road to achieving that.”