Electric Vehicles in the Highlands

ACTION Highland Highway – a network of rapid electric vehicle charge points in the Highlands
 


Transition Black Isle is a partner in this project investigating the viability of installing community-owned electric vehicle charge points in suitable rural destinations in the Highlands.

 


Transport Scotland and The Highland Council are already working together to install rapid chargers at strategic locations on major roads, but we are focussing on destinations which are a bit off the beaten track. We think the best sites for the charge points will be places where people drive regularly and typically stop for half an hour or more – long enough to recharge their battery for the next stage of the journey.

We also hope to be able to power the charge points with renewable electricity, probably from photo-voltaic panels – although the Government’s proposal to drastically reduce the feed-in tariff for photo-voltaics is going to make that quite a challenge.

The project has multiple potential benefits:

  • Removing one of the main barriers to the take-up of electric vehicles, i.e. the lack of public charge points, making electric vehicles unsuitable for the long distances between rural destinations;
  • Combining renewable electricity with batteries and a charge point to allow the use of renewables where a direct connection to the grid would be impossible due to weak grid infrastructure;
  • Using batteries to generate the high voltages needed for rapid chargers -  in large areas of the Highlands it would be uneconomic to connect a rapid charger directly to the grid;
  • Investigating the use of second-life industrial batteries to reduce waste.

TBI is carrying out a survey of local attitudes to electric vehicles in order to help develop the case for local charge points. If you are interested in participating in this, we’d love to hear your views, so please spare a few minutes to complete this short questionnaire.

And, in case you were wondering, ACTION stands for Alternative Community Transport in Our Neighbourhood – a reference to Caithness Voluntary Group’s Community Transport scheme, which is hoping to convert to electric vehicles based on this project. Other partners include The Highland Council, which is leading the project, Community Energy Scotland and Caithness Renewables.

 

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We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.