Make the switch to electric cars

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular due to their lower running costs, the large number of available models, and growing concerns about climate change and air pollution.

Switching to an EV could help you save money in the long term and reduce your carbon footprint. 

woman using a phone while an electric car charges

What is an electric vehicle (EV)?

A zero-emission, pure electric or battery electric vehicle (EV) is fully powered by electricity stored in its rechargeable battery. An external power source like a chargepoint charges the battery. EVs have no tailpipe emissions because there is no tailpipe.

The average EV's driving range is 225 miles before needing to be charged, comfortably meeting the needs of most drivers in Scotland.

Benefits of electric vehicles

There are multiple benefits to owning an electric vehicle.

An EV's higher purchase price can be offset by its lower running costs, making an EV a worthwhile investment.

Electric vehicles have simpler designs than petrol or diesel vehicles, meaning cheaper maintenance costs for fewer mechanical components.

Furthermore, electricity is more expensive than petrol or diesel per unit of energy. But a petrol or diesel engine isn’t as efficient at converting its fuel's stored energy into momentum as an EV, giving battery electric vehicles much cheaper travel costs.

Switching to an EV can offer savings, including: 

  • An average of £760 fuel savings annually. By fueling your journeys from a home charge point rather than with petrol or diesel, driving 100 miles in an EV costs £7 in electricity compared to £18 in a diesel or petrol car.
  • 43% less in average maintenance costs including MOT, servicing, and repairs - saving the average driver £141 a year. 
  • No vehicle excise duty. For an average car, vehicle excise duty is £180 annually. 
  • Even more savings with a home-renewables-powered charge point. Switching to an electric vehicle charged from a home renewables-powered charge point could save the average driver £1,010 in fuel costs per year.

Exploring second-hand EV options can bring the initial cost down significantly, and you might be surprised by the range of used models available. Read on for details of funding available to help you spread the cost of buying a used EV.

Domestic transport is the largest source of net greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. In 2020, emissions from transport accounted for 26% of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions, with 38% of those transport emissions coming from passenger car journeys. Choosing an EV makes a big difference.

A new electric car has just a third of the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of an equivalent new petrol car, even when taking into account battery production and disposal. Also, as electricity generation becomes greener, so do EVs.

On average, swapping your petrol or diesel vehicle for an EV can save 1,400kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Alongside environmental benefits, switching from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an electric vehicle significantly reduces your contribution to air and noise pollution, making our local communities cleaner, healthier, and more pleasant to live in.

Hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles combine an electric battery, an electric motor, and an internal combustion engine (ICE). The vehicle can be powered by either the ICE or the electric motor or by them both working together.

There are three main categories of hybrid vehicles:

  • plug-in hybrid
  • mild hybrid
  • hybrid.

Their charging method is the crucial difference between them. The most suitable for you depends on your driving needs and how often ICE powers the vehicle, with trade-offs in terms of fuel efficiency, costs, and carbon savings.

Charging your electric vehicle

For those with off-street parking at home, a dedicated home charge point is the most convenient and cost-effective way to charge an EV. To maximise your cost and carbon savings, explore the benefits of smart charging or the range of renewable-compatible charging systems available.

If you can't install a home charge point, your workplace or property factor might be able to install one, or you can rely on the comprehensive network of public charge points. Scotland has over 4,400 charge points, of which 1,030-plus are rapid and ultra-rapid charge points. Approximately 70 per cent of publicly available charge points are outside Scotland's cities.

Check out Zap Map and ChargePlace Scotland to locate charge points in your area and on your regular routes and destinations

Used Electric Vehicle Loan 

Anyone living in Scotland thinking of buying an electric vehicle may be able to register interest in the Used Electric Vehicle Loan.

This funding offered interest-free loans to help spread the cost of a used electric vehicle, including cars, vans, motorcycles, or mopeds.

If you want to know more about the loan, including a link to register your interest in future funding rounds, please visit the Used EV loan webpage.

Find out more
man charging an electric car

Charging at home grant

If you're looking to install a home charge point, you can register your interest in Domestic Charge Point funding. It offers grants to help cover the cost of purchasing and installing your charge point. Please visit the funding webpage to learn more about the fund and register your interest.

If you're a property factor and are interested in installing a charge point at one of your properties, you can register interest in the Factored Development charge point funding.

Find out more
a close up of a man about to charge an electric car

Low Emission Zone (LEZs) are designated areas which the most polluting vehicles are charged to enter. That's because air quality is particularly poor in city centres due to high concentrations of road transport. Currently, LEZs are operational in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen.

Case Study

Read MC's story

MC decided to make the switch to an electric vehicle when her current petrol vehicle was due for renewal.