Council agrees plans to expand electric vehicle infrastructure

East Ayrshire Council has this week agreed plans to increase the infrastructure to cater for more electric vehicles (EV) across Ayrshire.

The Council is working with South Ayrshire Council (through the Ayrshire Roads Alliance) and North Ayrshire Council to further develop ways of improving access to charging points across the whole of Ayrshire.

The plans involve partnering with an experienced commercial supplier through a concession contract to increase the number of EV charging points from an existing 126 publicly funded and managed charge points, to an estimated 433 across Ayrshire. 146 of these would be located in East Ayrshire, which currently has 62 publicly accessible EV charge points.

A business case was created last year between North, East and South Ayrshire Councils which set out how all three local authorities could work together to expand the EV charging infrastructure network to meet projected EV demand over the next three to four years.

A list of desired outcomes for the EV network were produced in consultation with key stakeholders, which stated that the public EV network should give people access to a technologically advanced, well maintained, reliable network; that it should be available in rural, remote and more deprived areas; that it must be commercially viable and attract private sector investment, and that it should promote the use of public transport and active travel as people’s first choice in line with the National Transport Strategy.

Potential locations for the proposed EV network were then investigated and it was agreed that the aim would be for 99% of Ayrshire properties without off-street parking to be within a 10-minute drive of a charge point. Further investigative work and detailed site surveys will be undertaken and a public consultation carried out to inform the public of the plans to introduce more EV charge points across Ayrshire, after which the locations will be finalised.

View a full list of potential locations in East Ayrshire. (Link to committee paper to be inserted once approved at Cabinet).

The total investment in the initiative is around £5.4million, which is expected to come from a mixture of national grant funding available from Transport Scotland, private sector investment and the income generated from the Council’s existing portfolio of charge points and newly installed EV charging points.

The concession contract will include passing the operation and maintenance of the Council’s existing EV charge points to the new commercial private partner which means that the Council will no longer be responsible for the operation and maintenance costs for the points.

The three Ayrshire Councils aim to formalise the partnership arrangements later this year and it is hoped that a contractor will be in place by the middle of next year.

Councillor Neal Ingram, Cabinet Spokesperson for Roads, said: “This is an important step that all three councils are taking in a bid to be net-zero by 2030 and the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles will play a huge role in helping us achieving this.

“With a recent Scottish study showing that the current lack of charging infrastructure is the main barrier to consumers buying electric vehicles, we want to improve the reach of our electric vehicle charging network in a way that is fair and accessible to all residents.

“We look forward to working with our neighbouring Ayrshire authorities on this initiative, and we hope to take advantage of national grant funding to support the investment.”