Is Scotland Struggling With Low Utilization Of Charging Points Too?




After Source London, RAC Foundation checked the data for Scotland’s charging network and, as it turns out, many stations sits unused there too.

Among the 482 charging station (some publicly accessible and others at workplaces) in August 2014 only 265 were used at least once. The remaining 217 or 45% were never used for the whole month.

Usage seems to depend on location of the points:

“However in the same month, all the charging units in the City of Edinburgh (38 units), Falkirk (9 units) and Stirling (9 units) were used at least once.

In August 2014 there were a total of 2,885 individual charging sessions.

There are now about 1,100 electric cars and vans in Scotland.

Of these 2,885 charging sessions, 46% took place in three cities:

1)      City of Edinburgh (494 sessions)

2)      Dundee City (459 sessions)

3)      Glasgow City (365 sessions)”

“The most heavily used charging unit was at Janet Brougham House, Dundee. It recorded 103 charging sessions in August 2014. However, this location is not a publically accessible charge point as it is located in a care home.

The next most heavily used locations were Victoria Quays (80 sessions) and Ingliston Park and Ride (61 sessions) in Edinburgh.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, stated:

“The encouraging news is that electric car sales in the UK are at last showing signs of improvement, but we still have a charging network in Scotland that is running below capacity.”

“Part of the reason for installing public charge points is to help drivers overcome their fear of range anxiety but this does not come cheap.”

“This data also suggests a good proportion of charge points are located on private premises including council sites. This is encouraging as it was always envisaged that fleet operators would lead the way in the electric revolution.”

“Ultimately we hope our analysis will give an indication of where further money should be spent and where extra infrastructure might be needed.”

More detailed data can be found here.

The number of sessions grew by 366% year-over-year in August 2014, so hopefully it will grow further. At 2,885 sessions, on average every charging point was used 6-times a month (or excluding points with zero sessions, 13-times a month). Average was 8 kWh per session.

Source: RAC Foundation

Categories: Charging

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

9 Comments on "Is Scotland Struggling With Low Utilization Of Charging Points Too?"

newest oldest most voted

As a Leaf driver in Aberdeen I can understand why these skewed figures are coming about. The public chargers can only be funded where they are on public land, which is invariably in the least convenient locations. There needs to be a better tie in with private enterprise areas to have these installed where a large volume of vehilces go e.g. Shopping presincts, supermarkets and mlti storey car parks. Provide the installation free to the owners along with compensation for the power used and the usage will improve along with the take up of EV’s.

What these numbers are taking into account is how many chargers are not operational. There was an article on ChargedEVs about the number of chargers in London that didn’t work. Then you see an article here that talks about how many chargers weren’t being used. But if you subtracted the number of chargers that didn’t work from the number that weren’t being used the percentage of operational chargers that were being used was pretty high.

How many times old they have been used If parking bays weren’t ICE’d by others not charging. We’re they all operational in that month and so on. So many variables!

Perhaps we are seeing that most users prefer to charge at home.

I don’t know about Scotland but here in the States some of the charging stations are a “Look at how green we are!” sort of statement so they are located right at the front of the parking lot in a prime location. And they are frequently ICE’d. I have been wanting to go to a Korean fried chicken place near me but the charger is always ICE’d and it would pi** me off to eat there knowing I could have been charging, so I don’t go.
Then there are two locations that have free charging I go to frequently when I want to opportunity charge while I am having lunch. One has both chargers opposite the elevators so they are seldom ICE’d. Love that place. The other has 5 chargers near the shops and 2 further away. Guess which ones are usually ICE’d. Exactly, the ones further away from the shops are seldom ICE’d.
We can complain and whinge and whine, but the easy answer is, don’t put the dang chargers in the best parking spots. We can walk a block to make it less likely to be ICE’d.

I have to agree with this(and above) comments. As a Leaf owner, I don’t really care so much about charging around town, mainly because I generally have plenty of range to get back home and don’t care to spend money or time on this. I suspect this may be the case for a lot of EV owners who bought their cars for the 90% of usual routes they do. There is just as much work to be done in enforcing ALL reserved parking spots (handicapped, EVs, family, etc) than there is planning out useful charging point locations. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t give a sh*t about anyone but themselves… :oP Case and point. The ONE time I parked in a reserved EV spot at a restaurant, but didn’t plug-in because I was full, I actually got blocked by a Volt owner who had no idea what a Leaf was, didn’t read “zero emissions” nor could distinguish the (dirty) green license plate from the usual blue by yellow sulfur streetlight. Luckily I knew well the guy. Oh the laughs we had… (cough!) What is going to make a difference in EV adoption is not the Mickey-Mouse 6.6kW charging infrastructure, which… Read more »

“Well located DC quick charging.”


I agree w/the sentiments above, and I’d add, what’s the big deal if they aren’t being used? They are not costing anything by sitting there unused. It’s not like you are paying someone to run a gas station that no one uses. When there are more plug-in cars, eventually those stations will get used. And even when they are not being physically used, they may be hypothetically used by EV drivers as an insurance policy. Knowing that a charger is there, provides more confidence.

It’s like hearing about a drinking fountain in the middle of a swamp not being used.

It sounds like all charging points are “destination charging” points. Usage will depend on value of visiting the destination.

Good data for providing feedback on the need to properly locate charging points so they’re accessible where needed!

No sane EV driver is going to leave home on a journey s/he knows he won’t have enough range to get home again from on the off-chance that s/he’ll find a working and available low level charger when they get to their destination. Ergo, EVers will hardly ever need a low level charger when away from home and thus they hardly ever get used. It’s not rocket science. My advice to local authorities is: at this stage stop wasting your money on low level street-side chargers and spend it on rapids – especially somewhere where both local and through traffic can access them 24/7 – this does NOT mean in a town centre car park where rush hour traffic will make it impossible to get to, where they are susceptible to vandalism and likely to be left blocked for hours by EVers who go off to do their shopping (let alone ICE’d).