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10.11.17

Driving forward a healthier Scotland

Dundee City Council is leading the way in boosting electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Scotland, writes Rebecca Wallace from the local authority’s fleet team.

Dundee is in the midst of an exciting new development in the city.

In August, planning permission was granted for three new EV charging hubs. They are to be introduced in the busiest locations across the city: Lochee, Broughty Ferry and Princes Street near the city centre, providing essential charging access to meet the soaring demand as EV numbers increase.

Work on the hubs is estimated to start in the coming months and the council hopes to see at least one of the hubs operational within this year. This could not come at a better time, as the Broughty Ferry charger located in the Queen Street carpark has been highlighted as the most used in Scotland. Combining figures with the second most used charger at Dundee Ice Area, these chargers are averaging a staggering 40 charges a day. There are currently over 250 EVs registered for the council’s free parking scheme since launching in December 2016, with numbers climbing every week. There has been a 33% increase in the uptake of EVs in the past year in Dundee alone, and there are an estimated 900+ EVs in the city and surrounding regions.

The hubs are expected to house a mix of rapid and fast chargers. Rapid chargers have an output of around 40-50kwh and can recharge a vehicles battery over 80% in 20-30 minutes. This technology is ideal for those who need a quick recharge – often taxi drivers and those with business fleets. These also provide essential charging opportunities for people who require a fast top-up as they may not be able to charge at their home. Fast chargers provide up to 22kwh of electricity and can recharge a vehicle fully in 1-4 hours, ideal for those who may be working in the area or carrying out recreational activities.

The hubs will be eye-catching, exclusive to EVs and packed with latest technology. Solar canopies will provide shelter and aid charging, which will be backed up with battery storage. Smart parking sensors will allow people to book out charging slots in advance. There are plans to utilise the completed hubs, opening opportunities to car franchises to transform the hubs into mini EV experience centres. It will be a chance to display electric and plug-in cars for sale, and provide demonstrations and test drives. They will work with the ‘Drive Dundee Electric’ campaign to supply further information and benefits around driving EVs in the area. 

The chargers will be available to the public, businesses, private hire fleets and NHS vehicles. Priority use for taxis will be implemented as city taxi numbers increase. Dundee City Council already has 83 EVs in its fleet and has seen huge cost savings and a reduction in maintenance.

The hubs are being funded with part of the £1.86m awarded from Office for Low Emission Vehicles to Dundee, which boasts being the only Go Ultra Low city in Scotland. Dundee has been actively promoting EVs and the huge benefits by hosting events and setting up a stand at the local Flower and Food Festival and the national Cenex LCV event in Millbrook. Locals and businesses have had an opportunity to work with the Drive Dundee Electric campaign, ask questions, share concerns and learn about what Dundee has to offer.

There is already a large amount of charging points around the city, funded by Transport Scotland, making Dundee one of the leading cities in the UK for EV uptake. Tesla also installed Scotland’s largest supercharging hub, putting eight chargers at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel. 

The drive to have EVs in the city has been welcomed after Dundee was found to have some of the worst pollution levels in Scotland, which were breaking EU limits in places. The uptake of EVs and other low-emission transport hopes to reduce these harmful levels and create a healthier, cleaner and more enjoyable environment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.dundeecity.gov.uk

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