Dear Orkney News,
The recent BBC Scotland Disclosure programme, Electric cars-ready for the charge? was an interesting look at public EV charge point provision in Scotland, but it only scratched the surface of what is and will happen in this sector.
The public charger coverage in Scotland, whilst the best in the UK outwith London, is still rather patchy, and in places very poorly maintained. Given the explosion in EV numbers being experienced, this needs to change rapidly. The thing that we need to be watching for is the tipping point in the composition of the national vehicle fleet. The cut-off point of 2030 for sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will not I think be the crucial moment, as there are 2 players in the game who are generally overlooked. I would say that they are finance directors in public and commercial organisations plus the vehicle leasing companies who now supply a large proportion of new vehicles, will play a prime role in the move from ICE to EV in Scotland.
The much lower running costs of EVs must already be attracting the attention of finance directors in their ongoing quest for best value on cash spent. The personal prejudices of drivers within organisations will have no impact on the choice of drivetrain for new vehicles, which means that finance directors should be a target for more positive messaging on EVs. Public sector organisations should be especially targeted in the drive from ICE to EV as the public sector is more averse to change than the private sector.
For vehicle leasing companies the end of lease value of vehicles is sure to be a crucial factor in the drivetrain set up they choose to supply. No -one will want to be left holding ICE vehicles that have a rapidly falling resale value in comparison to EVs, and this factor will surely accelerate the move from ICE to EV.
In order for the transition in the Scottish vehicle fleet to be smooth and successful, we need the Scottish Government and all elected politicians in Scotland to be making the positive case in public for the move to an EV future. Alongside the lower running costs of EVs, the massive reduction in air and noise pollution that they deliver should be trumpeted as a huge benefit to every community in Scotland, as we all currently suffer from the long-term damage to our personal health and collective environmental health.
Jon Southerington, Orkney