The Scottish government is planning to ban all petrol and diesel cars from its town centres by 2050. This is according to the “Switched On Scotland” document, which serves as a ‘roadmap’ illustrating how motorists should swap to electric vehicles.
The government will do its bit by spending £14 million over the next two years replacing its own fleet of petrol and diesel cars with electric models, and fitting electric charging points at its main buildings.
It also aims to encourage private buyers to switch by offering a £5,000 grant towards the purchase of an electric car, £8,00 towards and electric van, plus a 100 per cent grant to cover the cost of installing a dedicated home charging point.
It will also create resources to offer expert advice to the public, highlighting the financial and environmental advantages of going electric.
One major disadvantage of electric cars, their limited driving range, would appear not to be much of a factor. According to government statistics, roughly a third of all Scottish car journeys are less than two miles long, with a quarter being less than one mile long.
In petrol and diesel cars, these journeys are said to cause disproportionately high carbon dioxide emissions. Electric cars cause no such emissions.
Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said the plans to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles by 2050 are part of a “bold vision” that would need a “transformation in how we think about moving people and goods around.”
This transformation is absolutely vital to achieve our ambitious climate change targets,” he added.
“It will also help improve local air quality with a resultant improvement in public health and wellbeing and contribute toward further energising Scotland’s economy through opportunities for our flourishing green technology industries and our renewable energy sector.”
Green MSP Alison Johnstone isn’t convinced by electric cars. She said “there are just a tiny handful of electric cars on our roads and I see no sign that uptake is going to dramatically increase.”
“More could be achieved right now by repairing our potholed roads, making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and making public transport accessible for more people.”
Transport Scotland had to revise its electric cars roadmap after claiming there were 1,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle registrations last year. The organisation had included mobility scooters in its figures. The actual number was for electric passenger vehicles was 235.