Electric Cars and City Living

Electric car obstacles – reported in a couple of papers was the potential problem with the large proportion of city dwellers who live in tenement and flat accommodation (specifically in Scotland) and the issues this pose for people switching to electric cars. Parking is one problem when you live in a city flat, although this applies to ordinary vehicles too.

But the big issue is how to charge an electric car when you live 1 or more storeys up?

A  report from WWF concluded that, to meet Scottish Government targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nearly 300,000 petrol-driven cars will need to be replaced with electric ones by 2020, this is 1 in 10 vehicles on Scotland’s roads. However, the charity also highlighted the predominance of tenement housing in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and how this represents a significant hurdle to achieving greater uptake of electric cars.

Domestic charging of cars is one of the most effective and efficient means of powering private electric vehicles as this utilises existing infrastructure. However, the proportion of homes with garages or driveways where cars could be plugged into the mains is limited in Scotland. Although this may be an issue in all cities across the globe the problem is acutely highlighted in Scotland where Glasgow has the lowest rate of homes having access to off-street parking in the UK (22%); in Edinburgh it is less than a third; in Aberdeen, fewer than half of homes have off-street parking.

Ironically of course, cities are the ideal place to roll-out electric vehicle technology as many trips are short distance and low speed. WWF feel that the installation of more publically available on-street charging points will have to be considered. Either that or very long power extension cables! This report follows a Scottish Government consultation last year which called for all public sector vehicle fleets to be powered by alternative, low carbon technology by 2020, along with 30% of private vehicles.