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Electrifying low carbon vehicle support for Scotland

A bit of financial help can make a lot of difference when considering greener options.

This is proven by the fact that half of a £7.8million interest-free loan fund to support the purchase of electric vehicles in Scotland has already gone. 

Perhaps the benefits of a monetary incentive are unsurprising but the increase in electric vehicles is also undoubtedly linked to the advances in technology and charging infrastructure.

Changing perceptions

Neil SwansonNeil Swanson from Rosyth (pictured) is testament to how views on electric vehicles can be quickly turned around. After winning a year-long test drive of a Nissan Leaf in a competition we ran earlier this year with Western Nissan, Neil has clocked up thousands of miles commuting in his job as an electrical engineer. He quickly realised how much he enjoyed driving electric - so much so that he didn’t want to give the car back and decided to buy it instead.

He said: “When I entered the competition I thought, why not? I wasn’t convinced. I had driven old electric vans years ago and the range was awful. But after I won, I started to do my research and pretty quickly began to think ‘actually, this could be quite good.’ 

“Now, I love it. I’m delighted I can buy it through the Low Carbon Transport Fund too, it’s a great deal and really I didn’t need to give it a second thought.”

With 'range anxiety' looking set to be relegated to the annals of history, and people like Neil seeing that these vehicles can fit in neatly with their lifestyles, perhaps it's time you considered making the plunge to plugging in, not filling up. 

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Electric car numbers charge upwards

Last year, the number of electric vehicles registered in Scotland grew by 54 per cent - but maybe this is not so much of a surprise. Scotland is a great place to be considering trading in a fuel-hungry motor for something altogether more modern. 

Those going electric north of the border benefit not only from the Scotland-only loan scheme, but also the existing UK-wide Government Plug-In Car scheme offers grants of up to £4,500 off the cost of a new electric car.

Range of incentives

It's this kind of help with up-front costs, plus the fact that electric cars can be run at around a fifth of the cost of conventionally fuelled vehicles, that really makes for a uniquely attractive package. 

There are just six months left for Scots to take advantage of the Electric Vehicle Loan, which offers support of up to £35,000 – applications to the Low Carbon Transport Fund are open until March 31, 2017.

There could be even less time if demand continues to rise. The total funding, which is double the amount offered in the first round of the scheme, is very much a case of 'when it's gone, it's gone' – so if the fear of missing out is niggling you, it's time to act.

Apply for the Low Carbon Transport Fund before March 2017 by calling Home Energy Scotland (HES) on 0808 808 2282. 

Read about Neil's experiences of driving electric on his electric life blog. Are you an EV driver, or considering becoming one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or tweet @EST_Scotland.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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So, electric cars are now the way to go? OK, give us the relative prices on like for like vehicles, performance and comfort. Range? Allegedly "up to 180 miles". So, if you drive faster, is it less? How quickly can you re fuel if you do trips in excess of the up to 180 mile current capability? Is there an electic 4x4 out there? How available are re fueling points whilst away on long trips from Base? Until these points can be answered satisfactorily, how do we expect Fossil Fuel vehicle drivers to be persuaded to dip the toe in an untried, expensive, and as yet possibly under ranged and under provided vehicle range?