LEADING businesses and environmentalists insist that Scotland will need to emulate Norway and undergo a transport revolution if it is to reach future emission targets.

Organisations including the EV Association Scotland and WWF Scotland are calling on the Scottish Government to speed up the transformation needed in the transport sector to drive down emissions while creating new jobs and economic opportunities.

Independent analysis conducted for WWF shows that by 2030 half of buses and one in three cars on Scotland’s roads needs to be electric, powered by renewables, and it is recommending the Scottish Government introduce measures.

These include rapidly growing the country’s charging network and associated infrastructure to support low and zero-emission vehicles, requiring public transport systems to shift to low-emission vehicles, introducing low-emission zones in towns and cities, and setting a date to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles.

WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer Fabrice Leveque said: “Scottish companies are already involved in manufacturing electric buses and batteries, installing charge points and operating low-emissions vehicles, reflecting growing global momentum behind the move to electric. The fact that in Norway today almost one -hird of new car sales are electric vehicles (EVs) shows it can be done.

“Recent research has shown that the switch to electric vehicles is not only possible, but essential if we’re to reduce climate emissions from Scotland’s transport sector. Moving to electric will also clean up the dirty air in our towns and cities, and drivers will benefit from much lower fuel costs. Already several countries across Europe are considering phasing out fossil-fuelled cars within the next 10 to 15 years.”

EV Association Scotland chairman Doug Robertson said the way Scots drive around Scotland's roads needed to be transformed, and steps should be taken to encourage the rapid take-up of electric vehicles.

He added: “There are multiple public benefits to be gained from switching more vehicles over to electric, as well as reduced fuel costs for consumers. We call on the Scottish Government to do all it can to encourage a shift to EVs.”

Colin Robertson, chief executive of Alexander Dennis Ltd, Falkirk-based manufacturer of low- and zero-emission buses, said any action taken by the Scottish Government on infrastructure development and the use of electric and low-carbon vehicles would be very welcome.

“At the core of our company is our commitment to designing, developing and manufacturing reliable buses which incorporate new technologies to respond to stringent environmental requirements and deliver an outstanding passenger experience.

"Our range of electric and low-carbon buses help support an extensive Scottish workforce and associated supply chain."

David Young, owner of Dundee Private Hire (203020 Electric), which runs the UK’s largest fleet of electric taxis, said cities across Scotland were blighted by very poor air quality, and pollution-free electric vehicles were part of the solution.

“As well as helping to reduce pollution, swapping over to EVs has saved me and every one of my drivers money,” he said.

Ian Whiting, director of AGM Batteries Ltd, a Thurso-based firm that runs the UK’s largest lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant, said the Scottish Government could help create “a significant new Scottish industry”.

Paul Ross, Business Development Director of BMM Energy Solutions, a North Lanarkshire-based supplier and installer of electric vehicle charging points, said: “There are a number of potential barriers that hinder the uptake of EVs and that only government can solve.

"To enable EVs to take off in a big way we need support and leadership.”