Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs)

Switched On Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles

Switched On Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles’ was published on 12 September 2013. The Roadmap sets out a vision that by 2050, Scotland’s towns, cities and communities will be free from the damaging effects of petrol and diesel fumes.

Analysis is presented which illustrates that electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs /PHEVs) will make a substantial contribution to this ambition. This will be motivated by Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets and commitments to improve local air quality and noise pollution. The potential economic opportunities and the contribution of plug-in vehicles to Scotland’s renewable energy targets are also recognised.

The document has been produced by the Scottish Government in partnership with experts from industry, academia and environmental bodies and sets out the plan to drive forward the uptake of electric vehicles in Scotland.

E-cosse partnership

The E-cosse partnership played a key role in the development of the Switched On Scotland report. Launched in March 2012, the partnership consists of the Scottish Government along with experts from industry, academia, environmental bodies and local authorities.

Read more about E-cosse.

Advice on Low Carbon Vehicles

Choosing the right vehicle and driving in the most economical way can make a significant reduction in the level of emissions from transport.

Low carbon vehicles (LCVs), more efficient vehicle engines and alternatively fuelled vehicles can also help reduce transport sector carbon emissions.

Visit http://www.greenerscotland.org/greener-travel/electric-vehicles for more information on electric cars and details on how to arrange a test drive.

Information on buying an efficient car, eco driving and energy saving tips can also be found at the Energy Saving Trust.

Electric Vehicle Grants for Motorists

Motorists purchasing a qualifying ultra-low emission vehicle can receive a grant of 25% towards the cost from the UK Government, up to a maximum of £5,000 for a car and £8,000 for a van.

Drivers can also apply to the Energy Saving Trust for 100% funding for a charge point to be installed at their home.

Where Can I Charge my Electric Vehicle?

The Scottish Government has established ChargePlace Scotland – a network of charging points across the country.  The ChargePlace Scotland Map lists the location of all public charge points in Scotland.

Enquiries can also be made to ElectricVehicles@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk

Hydrogen Fuel Cell EVs

The use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric vehicles has huge potential to cut CO2 emissions, with the only tailpipe emission being water vapour. They also have the benefit of greater range than pure battery EVs.  The creation of hydrogen from water, using Scotland's plentiful renewable energy resources will also be beneficial to the energy sector, as a means of storing energy at times of low demand, and in helping to balance the electricity grid.  Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles are not due to be launched by most manufacturers until 2015. Significant developments in infrastructure will be required to support their introduction.

Transport Scotland is an active member of UK and European projects to share knowledge, expertise and emerging research findings on hydrogen`s potential in transport.  One such project will see Europe`s largest hydrogen bus fleet introduced in the city of Aberdeen in 2014.

Other Alternative Fuels

The increased use of alternative fuels will help reduce the carbon footprint of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles and improve local air quality.  Some alternative fuels, such as biodiesel from waste oils are well understood, but others involve relatively new and complex technologies to create synthetic fuels. These require further research and development before their uptake can be accelerated.


Biofuels are fuels produced from a range of organic material. Sustainable biofuels are derived from waste streams such as animal tallow or used cooking oil, with sources such as seaweed or algae also being investigated. Many biofuels are produced from crops such as wheat, maize, rapeseed, or sugar cane. However, the need to grow these crops can have unwanted effects that undermine the carbon benefits and lead to food price rises.  The main fuels currently in use in Scotland are bio-ethanol and bio-diesel. These are blended into most standard fuel in small percentages.

Transport Scotland is participating in a Ministerial Taskforce, led by Scottish Enterprise into the economic and environmental potential for production and use of biofuels from sustainable sources in Scotland, making the best use of our available resources.