SPECIAL charging hubs for electric vehicles could be rolled out across Edinburgh over the next 18 months.

According to the first Electric Vehicle Action Plan published by City of Edinburgh Council, which will be considered by the Transport and Environment Committee today, electric vehicles are a key priority for the capital as it aims to reduce carbon emissions.

Electric vehicle uptake is rising rapidly across the UK, and Edinburgh has more than 23 per cent of all licensed electric vehicles in Scotland.

In 2011 there were only nine in the capital, but by June 2017 there were 489. The number of charging points also increased, from eight in 2013 to 89 by October 2017, of which 58 are publicly available.

Compared to conventional cars, electric vehicles including hybrids emit substantially fewer carbon emissions. The vehicles are also cleaner with far fewer exhaust emissions, meaning they deliver direct air quality improvements.

In September 2017 the Scottish Government announced a major expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure across Scotland by 2022, along with a target to phase out all new fossil fuel vehicles by 2032.

The Edinburgh Plan proposes three strategic charging zones. Zone 1 in the city centre, which would focus on rapid charging points both on and off-street and look at reserving some for the sole use of taxis, car club vehicles and public-sector fleets.

Zone 2 would cover residential areas, prioritising charging infrastructure in high-density areas and encouraging electric car club vehicles, while Zone 3 would be for peripheral areas, targeting park-and- ride sites and creating a strategic charging infrastructure ring around the city’s outskirts.

Transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “It’s very encouraging how many Edinburgh residents and organisations are demonstrating their commitment to both reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the city by opting for electric vehicles over fossil- fuelled ones.

“This new action plan will help the council and our partners maximise the benefits and opportunities of this cleaner, greener option. It will provide many more opportunities for residents and visitors to charge their cars easily, and we hope this will let even more people think of switching to an electric car.”