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Council / More power than ever accessed from electric vehicle charge points last year despite dip in individual sessions

A vehicle charging point at the Fort Road car park. Photo: Shetland News

THE NUMBER of times electric vehicle chargers were used in Shetland dropped slightly last year due to the pandemic as travel was limited – but despite this the amount of power taken from the points increased.

The free to use council-run chargers were used 2,947 times in total during the calendar year, which is a reduction from 3,447 in 2019.

But since their introduction a number of years ago usage rates are continuing their overall rise as more people go electric ahead of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars being banned in the UK from 2030.

Shetland Islands Council’s energy efficiency team leader John Simpson said there is “definitely an upward trend” in electric charger usage.

Despite the drop in charging sessions last year, 31,597kWh of energy was used from the 13 points, which is up from nearly 29,000kWh in 2019.

The geographical disparity remains, however – the charger at the Unst Leisure Centre in Baltasound for instance was only used seven times last year.

The Ulsta ferry terminal in Yell, however, had 60 charges.


The most-used was the rapid charger at Gilbertson Park in Lerwick (1,398) while the town’s Fort Road was second with 467 charging sessions.

The most popular charger outside of Lerwick in 2020 was the point at Brae Health Centre, which was used 147 times.

But the impact of the pandemic, and restrictions on travel, is made clear in some of the figures to date for 2021.

The Brae charger, for instance, has already been used more times this year than 2020.

In 2021 new chargers at Hoswick Visitor Centre and Cullivoe Pier also came on stream.

It is vastly different picture from when the first charger was installed by the council at the North Ness Business Park back in 2014.

By 2015 there were four chargers in operation, but in the entire year they were only used 136 times.

Every year the usage has grown, apart from the anomaly of charging sessions last year.

Simpson said the council is in the process of sorting out new chargers at Church Road in Lerwick and the town’s old swimming pool car park, Sumburgh Airport and the Voe Hall.

He said a couple could go live in the next few months.

“We’re possibly going to a bit more funding this year, so we’ll continue to develop them where we hope they’ll be most useful,” Simpson added.

There are other publicly available chargers which are not overseen by the council, such as a few at Lerwick Port Authority sites and another at Mackenzie’s Cafe in Cunningsburgh. There is also a charging point in Fetlar, installed by the island’s museum trust.

Grants are available for individuals and businesses to install chargers either at home or at the workplace.

According to the Energy Saving Trust DH Marine and MEB Services’ David Williamson are the only two accredited installers of non-public charge points covering Shetland.

Simpson added that by 2025 the council will no longer be able to run any petrol or diesel cars, or able to buy any petrol or diesel vans.