SCOTLAND’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is at “tipping point”, and a new report has warned that fees will have to be introduced for drivers to charge their EVs.

The Transport Scotland and Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) study said with demand for EVs expected to continue to rise, more than 4000 new public charging points would be needed every year over the next decade.

Most of the current 2558 public charge points across the country are provided by the Government-funded ChargePlace Scotland scheme, but the report said this would struggle to keep up with demand and more private investment will be needed for a “major increase” in charge points.

The Scottish Government has set ambitious climate change targets and to help meet them it wants to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Quoting research from the Climate Change Committee, the report said Scotland would need an estimated 30,000 charge points by then.

It said: “Further rapid growth in the number of plug-in electric vehicles over the next few years is to be expected as costs of vehicles come down and consumer confidence grows.

“This will of course necessitate the need for further significant investment in charging infrastructure, including public charge points.”

The report also warned the cost of upgrading the electricity network to accommodate the new infrastructure will be significant and could stretch to £5 billion across the UK by 2030.

More than 1800 charging points have been funded by the Scottish Government since 2013 through the ChargePlace Scotland network, with many providing free electricity.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey said the model for public charging infrastructure needed to “evolve”.

He said: “This report makes clear that as demand for electric vehicles increases our approach towards the provision of public charging infrastructure must evolve.

“We’ve achieved much through the Local Authority Infrastructure Programme and over £45 million has been invested to deliver over 1800 charge points across Scotland through a single network operator.

“This has created green jobs and net zero opportunities across the country – but more can still be achieved.

“This report is clear that we are now at a tipping point in terms of current demand and future requirements. By retaining the best characteristics that Scotland enjoys through ChargePlace Scotland, the opportunities from inviting greater private sector involvement could be tremendous.

“To meet our world leading climate targets, of course we need to see less car use rather than more. For those that need to drive, the opportunities afforded by electric vehicles for our climate and our air quality are profound. If the car is the right tool for transport on some occasions then we need people to have confidence to choose electric. This requires a comprehensive charging network and I’m pleased that this report provides a route map that supports our vision of phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.”

Director of infrastructure finance and programmes at the SFT Kerry Alexander added: “We are working closely with Transport Scotland, pooling our collective infrastructure expertise to scope out the requirements to accelerate the delivery of public electric vehicle charging facilities.

“To deliver at scale and pace, we need to adopt innovative and commercially viable funding models to supplement Scottish Government funding.

“We will be looking to develop models in the coming months, working with Transport Scotland, local authorities and private sector operators, to support future delivery.”