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Transport / Electric vehicle charger usage continues to rise

Meanwhile the council is proposing introducing fees on its public charge points for the first time – up to 57p per kWh

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

MORE than double the amount of power was drawn from Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) public electric vehicle chargers last year compared to 2021.

Meanwhile newly published papers for council meetings next week show that the SIC is proposing to introduce fees for its public chargers for the first time.

A fee of 57p per kWh for rapid chargers has been mooted, and 47p per kWh for fast charge points.

Freedom of information data requested by Shetland News shows that nearly 186,000 kWh was taken from the 22 chargers last year across 11,817 sessions.

In comparison the figure for 2021 was 68,841 kWh and 4,972 sessions – although only 17 charge points were on the books then.

There was also no data available for June and July 2021 when there was a change in provider at Charge Place Scotland, meaning those figures will be slightly lower than they should be.

It remains unclear exactly what extent the move away from Covid restrictions in 2022 played a part in the figures as people worked less from home and got out and about more.

But chair of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Moraig Lyall said the figures all point to an upwards trend in electric vehicle usage.

It comes ahead of a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK from 2030.

“There are more people who now own electric cars which will partly explain the uplift in use in addition to people being back in the office so more commuting miles,” Lyall said.

“There’s now a network of charging points across the islands that makes ownership more convenient and that is likely to continue to expand as more private companies install charging points.

“I’m sure the use will continue to rise as more people trade their petrol and diesel vehicles for EVs.”

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Charting longer term trends, the council’s network was used 1,735 times in 2018 and on 3,197 occasions in 2019 – although the number of charge points available to drivers increases every year.

Electric vehicle drivers report that charge points sometimes go out of order before coming back on, but the council was unable to provide availability figures for last year.

At the moment people can charge up in Shetland for free, but fees could be set in stone next week as councillors set the 2023/24 budget.

The most popular council charge point in Shetland in 2022 was Gilbertson Park, which was used 2,424 times.

While the Pitt Lane car park had less sessions, it claimed the most kWh consumption at 40,854 – slightly more than Gilbertson Park.

The Clickimin Leisure Centre was the third most used charge point when it came to sessions, followed by the Brae Health Centre, Scalloway Primary School and the Bixter car park.

The least sessions title sits with the Unst Leisure Centre, which was only used eight times in the year.

Other charge points which did not rack up many sessions included the Dunrossness Industrial Estate (50) and Mid Yell School (94).

There are some other public chargers in Shetland available outside the council network, and some are set to be launched in the Tesco supermarket carpark in Lerwick.

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