Invest in charging points that actually work, says Lothian MSP

The £15 million government investment in electric vehicle charging points announced this week has been welcomed by Lothian MSP Gordon Lindhurst, on the condition that they actually work.

The announcement came ahead of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government and commits the £15 million as part of a package of measures designed to transform roads to low carbon. People are being encouraged to move away from petrol and diesel vehicles and the government target is for the removal of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032.

However, concerns over the maintenance of charging points in Edinburgh have emerged in the Edinburgh Evening News recently, with electric vehicle owners being left frustrated at the number of charging points sitting out of order.

It means drivers who have been encouraged to move to green technology have been left feeling frustrated at having to travel further to charge their vehicle, while at working charging points there have been delays for drivers having to wait to charge.

In a series of written questions to the government, Mr Lindhurst questioned the out of service charge points, and was told it is the hosts’ responsibility to maintain and repair them within 48 hours. In Edinburgh there have been reports of individual points being out of action for up to five weeks.

While Lindhurst has welcomed the new investment, he has also called for maintenance to be properly enforced for current charging points. He said:

“The news that money is being invested into vehicle charging points is welcome and I look forward to hearing how many Lothian will get.

“But once they are installed that’s not the end of the matter. Guidelines state that these points have to be repaired within 48 hours, but we know that is not happening in Edinburgh.

“If the government is to meet it’s target it needs to ensure that electric vehicles are attractive to drivers.

“Imagine driving to a petrol station and being told you can’t fill up there for five weeks.

“With charging points in such a state it is little wonder that electric vehicles accounted for just 1.77% of new vehicle registrations in 2016.”