As it draws to a close, COP26 has seen world leaders aim to reach a consensus on actions to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and the adoption of electrical vehicles (EV) has been cited as a critical step in achieving that aim.
According to data from the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Statistics published by the Scottish Government, the transport sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Scotland, accounting for around 30% of all emissions. Road transport accounted for 66% of overall transport greenhouse emissions, with cars accounting for around 40% of that total. This has been acknowledged by the Scottish Government, which this week has signed up to five agreements supporting the global decarbonisation of transport, these agreements include:
- The COP26 Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to Zero Emission Cars and Vans – working towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets, and
- The Transport Decarbonisation Alliance ‘Call for Accelerated Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure’ – committing signatories to support the transition to electric vehicles by accelerating the timely deployment of charging infrastructure.
The switch to EVs is neither a passing trend nor a slow transition and will affect individuals and businesses alike.
How will the transition to EVs be made?
There has already been progress. Deloitte reported that the UK’s best-selling car in September was the Tesla Model 3, with one in six new cars sold now powered solely by batteries, up from one in 15 a year earlier.
Despite the uplift in the sale of EVs there will clearly be challenges. Currently there are around 2,400 public EV charging points in Scotland mainly scattered between petrol stations, motorway services and residential developments. People could justifiably point to a lack of convenient charging infrastructure as a reason for not switching to an EV. Focus is required on ensuring that all consumers and businesses benefit from affordable, reliable and accessible charging infrastructure.
A Scottish Government consultation paper published in July 2021 sets out its preferred options for EV charge points, and these are:
New residential buildings
All dwellings with a parking space to have at least one EV charge point socket.
Residential buildings undergoing major renovation
For buildings with more than 10 car parking spaces, ducting to be installed in each residential car parking space to support the future installation of an EV charge point.
EV charge point sockets to be installed in as many residential car parking spaces as the electrical capacity of the building post-renovation allows.
New non-residential buildings
For buildings with more than 10 non-residential car parking spaces, one in every two non-residential parking spaces are to have ducting installed and one in every 10 non-residential parking spaces are to provide an EV charging socket.
Non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation
For buildings with more than 10 non-residential car parking spaces, one in every two non-residential parking spaces are to have ducting installed and one in every 10 non-residential parking spaces are to provide an EV charge point socket.
Existing non-residential buildings
By 1 January 2025, for buildings with more than 20 non-residential car parking spaces, one in every two non-residential parking spaces are to have ducting installed and one in every 10 non-residential parking spaces are to provide an EV charge point socket.
It’s clear that continued government support will be required to assist households and businesses to install charging infrastructure at home or work premises if these options are to be realised.
I recently attended a Built Environment Networking Event and one of the speakers referred to there being a ‘green thread’ running through all sectors at the moment and this is undoubtedly the case. Each sector is required to play their part in encouraging the ‘green thread’ and the transition to EVs is an example of a change that will require the public and private sector, as well as individual buy-in.
The rapid rise in the use of electric vehicles must be matched with corresponding growth in the availability of comprehensive and convenient electrical vehicle charging infrastructure and residential and commercial developers will be required to lead the charge.