Scottish Lib Dem leader proposes scheme to let public trial electric cars

Alex Cole-Hamilton will use his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference to call for a new scheme to let everyone try out an electric car for a weekend.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader will push for new public sector vehicles to be electric and longer government-backed interest free loans to enable people to buy electric vehicles in his speech to delegates on Monday.

The scheme he will propose would allow everyone who wants to to try out an electric car for a weekend funded by the government.

We revealed earlier this month that more than half of the Scottish Government’s car fleet is electric or electric hybrid, according to new figures.

‘Cost is a barrier’

Mr Cole-Hamilton will say that “cost is a barrier” to the public in using electric cars as he argues for the vehicles to be made more affordable.

He will add: “I hear people say they would drive an electric car if they could trust the charging network.

“So let’s give government a real stake in making those chargers available and keeping them running. Let’s insist new public sector vehicles are electric.

“I hear people say cost is a barrier. Let’s spread those costs so they are affordable, with longer government-backed interest free loans. That could be worth more than £100 a month to household budgets.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is calling for new public sector vehicles to be electric to encourage behaviour change.

“And people need to trust that an electric vehicle can get them from A to B. So there should be a new entitlement to show what is possible.

“Take an electric vehicle for a spin for a weekend and the government will pick up the tab. Take one for a trip and folk won’t look back.”

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The SNP is pledging to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars across Scotland by 2030 in a bid to tackle the climate crisis – and part of this includes having all public sector fleets electric by 2025.

The figures we obtained show 116 out of the Scottish Government’s 206 cars are electric or electric hybrids.

Part of the reason for introducing electric cars to public sector fleets is to lead the way and encourage the wider public to opt for electric cars in the future.


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