East Lothian Council

The Challenge

In 2018, East Lothian Council had only four functioning changepoints, and it was often claimed that people would not invest in an electric vehicle (EV) until the infrastructure was there to support them. “Range-anxiety” (the perception that a driver might run out of fuel far from home) was a common fear among drivers who might be looking to switch. For households without private driveways, there was even less incentive to drive EV, as it was not clear where they could charge on a regular basis, and they had no confidence in what the cost of fuel would be. A ZapMap/Field Dynamics study recently identified that there were nearly 15,000 such households in East Lothian.

Additionally, longer electric vehicles, and those with trailers could not fuel up at any of the public changepoints, and the local car club (which had provided access to an electric vehicle for people without a private car), had switched back to a conventional vehicle, due to difficulties with charging.

The Solution

Over the following two years East Lothian Council, supported by funding from the UK and Scottish Governments, has expanded the number of electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints on its network to over 80. This means that the majority of people in East Lothian now live within a 5-minute drive of a chargepoint. Much of the groundwork for this has been undertaken by Boyd Brothers, and East Lothian’s EV Infrastructure Officer, Ryan Robertson, commented that “Boyd Brothers, working for our main contractor Swarco UK Ltd, have provided an efficient and reliable service to get the key nodes of our charging network in place, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and other partners as we roll out more EV chargepoints across the county.”

East Lothian’s network consists of both Journey chargers in each of their largest towns, providing a back-up rapid charge for residents, or a top-up for people passing through, as well as multiple Destination (slower) chargepoints in car parks throughout the county for shoppers and commuters, or overnight charging by residents. One of their most recent sites at Wallyford Park & Ride, has also incorporated longer charging bays with High-Power Chargers suitable for heavier vehicles at a key point close to the strategic road network.

The Result

Now that they are the proud owners of the fastest chargepoints on the ChargePlace Scotland network, and have a resilient and capacious network of Journey and Destination chargers, the Council is turning its sights on more knotty problems such as how to provide appropriate and affordable charging for residents without driveways and in streets with high levels of on-street parking. Since it can be controversial to remove general on-street parking in order to create dedicated EV spaces, East Lothian is looking at innovative solutions such as bollard-mounted chargers which can be installed in batches along a street. There will be no allocated EV spaces so petrol and diesel vehicles will not be pushed out, but multiple chargers will give EV owners a choice over where they park. The slimline chargepoints are also more suitable for Conservation Areas, and in historic village centres where road and pavement space is at a premium.

A further challenge will be to bring electric vehicles more fully into the sustainable transport mix alongside buses, walking and cycling, and East Lothian Council is looking to ensure that charging (and parking) for EVs is presented alongside bike hire stations and bus stops, allowing people to switch modes with ease. Journey sharing will be encouraged, and car clubs will be fully supported to switch to electric.

East Lothian’s EV charging network now includes a wide range of units, specific to their local setting, from the High Powered chargers with longer bays, to town centre journey chargers for visitors, to long-stay destination chargers for commuters, shoppers and residents. Working with Boyd Brothers, and other partners, and subject to continuing to secure funding, they plan to grow existing sites as demand dictates and find the right solutions to provide convenient residential on-street charging for East Lothian residents as they join the EV revolution.

Thank you to Neil Swanson / EVA Scotland for video footage

Get In Touch

From East Lothian’s Wallyford project (Scotland’s largest multiple charger hub) to a single charger project in the Shetlands. Boyd Brothers have a wealth of EV infrastructure experience giving you complete confidence around our capabilities. Please feel free to provide your contact details so we can follow up with you to discuss your future EV projects. We would love the opportunity to support your EV infrastructure by delivering your vision and making it a reality.