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Transport / More of a reduction in electric vehicle charger usage than expected since fees introduced

USAGE of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) electric vehicle charging points has decreased more than anticipated after fees were imposed earlier this year.

There has been around 47 per cent less sessions on charge points since fees were introduced on 11 April to the end of July, compared to the same time period last year.

But figures show that some of the newer charge points are taking on some of the load.

The charging point with the largest decrease in usage is Gilbertson Park in Lerwick.

The electric vehicle charging point in Scalloway. Photo: Shetland News

There have been 400 less sessions there between 11 April and the end of July compared to the same time period in 2022.

Many other charging point locations have seen a decrease.

The new tariff for charging is 47p per kWh at 7kW and 22kW fast chargers, and 57p per kWh at 50kW rapid chargers.

Charging was free until this year in a bid to encourage more people to use electric vehicles.

The Pitt Lane car park in Lerwick had 342 less sessions in the aforementioned time period, with the Clickimin Leisure Centre 257 less.

There were 128 less sessions at the Scalloway school car park compared to the same time period in 2022, and 111 fewer at the Grantfield offices in Lerwick.

Overall between 11 April and the end of July 2022, there were 3,785 charging sessions.

Not including any new chargers which have been installed since July 2022, the figure for the same time period in 2023 was 2,002 – highlighting a fairly significant drop.

When taking into account all new chargers, the figure for 2023 rises to nearly 2,500 sessions.

The SIC’s environment and transport committee chair Moraig Lyall said it was clear there would be a decrease in usage when fees were imposed if people could charge at home.

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SIC infrastructure director John Smith also told a council meeting this week that the expectation in the long run is that people will charge at home.

“If they can do it at home for the same price or less, then they’re obviously going to do it with the convenience of being at home,” Lyall said.

“It was clear there was going to be an immediate reduction, but that is expected to obviously begin to build up again as more people adopt electric cars.”

But Lyall said “there’s probably been more of a reduction in use than had been anticipated”.

The Shetland Central councillor said the SIC had budgeted for £47,000 of income from charging fees this financial year, but since the start of April it has only brought in around £9,000.

“The usage has been less than anticipated, but the fact is that there are an increasing number of chargers there available for people to make use of, and hopefully as more people buy electric cars that the usage will build up again,” Lyall said.

The councillor added that public points would still prove especially useful for visitors to Shetland, as well as folk living in flats for instance who are not able to install home chargers.

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