Further improvements needed to electric vehicle charging network, says McArthur

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has this week led calls to expand and make more robust Scotland’s electric vehicle charging network. 

Despite a welcome increase over recent years in the availability of rapid and other charge points across the country, concerns remain about the way in which these operate. There are numerous examples of repairs to charge points taking days or even weeks to carry out, a situation that would be unthinkable for a traditional petrol station. Mr McArthur has raised these concerns with the Transport Minister and local authorities, calling on them to do more to ensure necessary repairs to charge points are carried out quickly and efficiently.

Meantime, the communications linking the charge points to Charge Your Car (CYC) rely on phone signals, which can be unreliable at best in many parts of the country, particularly in rural areas. Where a connection cannot be made, EV drivers can find they are denied access to the charge point. Mr McArthur has written to CYC and again to the Minister, urging a rethink of the system.

In his letter, Liam McArthur MSP said: “it has suggested that the system needs to move away from online verification towards a system that preauthorises all cards and uses the phone to send the bill later on. In the event that a customer fails to pay, then the preauthorisation can be withdrawn until such time as the due amount is paid.”

Mr McArthur also wrote to Scotland’s 32 local authorities to promote Orkney Renewable Energy Forum’s good practice guide to help maximise the value of investment in EV charging infrastructure. Mr McArthur sought further feedback from Scotland’s councils about their plans for maintaining and expanding the charge point networks in their area, which Orkney’s MSP will share with Orkney Renewable Energy Forum and Electric Vehicle Association of Scotland.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“It is encouraging to see the increased take up of electric vehicles by both domestic and business users, notably here in Orkney, where we currently have the highest proportion of EV car ownership in the country. There are real benefits in terms of running costs but also in reducing environmental impacts as well.

“Key to building on this success, and encouraging even greater EV ownership, will be the delivery of improvements in the charging network. We are already seeing the network expand across the country, which is very welcome, but a greater focus on reliability is still needed.

“Too often, faults at EV charge points take days or even weeks to fix. That is simply not acceptable. As one constituent put it to me, if a customer was to turn up at a petrol station to be told that none of the pumps were working and they were waiting for the manufacturer there would be an outcry. There is no reason why EV drivers should not have the same expectations in relation to charge points.

“Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, in collaboration Electric Vehicle Association of Scotland, has produced an excellent free guide on how the EV charging network in the UK might be developed. I have asked every local authority in Scotland to take this on board. This will help ensure the investment councils make is effective and that we have the infrastructure that can support even greater take-up of EVs in future.”


Note to editors –

Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, in collaboration with Electric Vehicle Association of Scotland, have developed a good practice guide to help maximise the value of investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This document has been sent to you previously, but can be found at http://www.oref.co.uk/resources/ev-charging-design-guide/.

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