A FASTER move to Electric

Electric cars

A project which is working with several councils across Scotland to identify suitable locations for high-speed electric vehicle (EV) charging points is seeking input from the public.

The Facilitating a Sustainable Transition to EVs in the Region (FASTER) Project is inviting the public to provide information about their travel patterns and needs, by completing a short survey.

Recent weeks and months have seen significant media and public interest in the growing numbers of Battery Electric and Hybrid vehicles on roads across Western Scotland. EV sales have seen record increases in the first six months of 2021 and as governments across the globe are uniting in their efforts to tackle carbon emissions and climate change, future trends predict this growth will continue as sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles are phased out.

The FASTER Project is a €6.4 million EU INTERREG V- funded project led by East Border Region Ltd based in Newry, Northern Ireland, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde and HiTrans.

The project aims to help reduce the impact of fossil fuels and transport emissions through the delivery of 73 new publicly accessible rapid charging points across Western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Border Region of the Republic of Ireland to support drivers as they make the switch to electric vehicles.

Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department for Transport in Ireland, as well as Transport Scotland, HITRANS and the University of Strathclyde.

The FASTER Project is currently working with several councils across Western Scotland to identify suitable locations for this vital infrastructure which will be installed on a rolling basis over the next six to 18 months.

Ryan Sims, Senior R & D Engineer with the Strathclyde-led Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC), said: “The installation of 24 new journey chargers is a welcome addition to the Charge Place Scotland network. PNDC's role is to support HITRANS and their local authority partners to find locations where near-term investment in EV journey charging is most in need.

"The team implemented a layered modelling approach that considers charging demand forecasts, electricity network modelling and site-specific metrics including land ownership and user convenience.”

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, said: “As the effects of climate change increase dramatically we need to invest seriously in measures which will cut carbon emissions. Electric vehicles represent a more eco-friendly form of transport which will have a reduced impact on the environment.

“This new EU-funded project has been specifically designed to remove some of the obstacles that have previously discouraged people from choosing electric vehicles. It also represents one of the core objectives of the INTERREG VA Programme, which supports sustainable transport, on a cross-border basis.”

East Border Region Chairman Councillor Kyle Savage said: “EBR are delighted to be Lead Partner on this innovative and genuinely cross-border project which will see essential Electric Vehicle infrastructure installed across the three jurisdictions. Electric Vehicles are an essential strategy in the immediate term to reduce local emissions and help improve local air quality.”

While estimates suggest that up to 80% of charging will take place at the homes of EV owners, the number of chargers currently available for public use is widely regarded as one of the key obstacles for those drivers considering the move to a more sustainable vehicle. The FASTER Project will deliver effective solutions to help overcome this barrier and will educate drivers as to their electric vehicle options and the benefits they can bring.

The FASTER Project partnership in collaboration with Transport Research Partnership is now calling on the public to participate in a short survey which will examine the current travel needs and behaviours of vehicle users across Western Scotland. This survey will identify preferences on vehicle ownership, fuel choice, the types of journeys drivers are making daily and will explore the factors & influences which are leading the shift towards electric vehicles.

The public survey is available online until Tuesday 20 July.