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Project for network of rapid electric vehicle charging points in Highlands and Islands launched

Kate Forbes, MSP. Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch ) with Gemma Robinson, FASTER Project Manager, HITRANS, Lewis Hunter, Research and Development Engineer, University of Strathclyde and Ranald Robertson, Director, HITRANS. Highlands at the launch.

Rural communities face major barriers to owning electric vehicles.

But now a project has launched to see 24 rapid electric car charging points installed in the Highlands and Islands.

Regional transport partnership Hitrans has received €1.5m of European Union funding and support from the Scottish Government for the Faster scheme.

What is the Faster scheme?

The project will see EV units installed in Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Argyll and Bute (excluding Helensburgh) and the Western Isles by 2023.

The project will assist with analysis of the planning and procurement requirement needed to kick start a commercial charging service.

Ireland and Northern Ireland are included in the project partners.

It is a project supported by the European Union’s Interreg VA Programme.

This project aims to carry out the design and analysis, procurement, installation and operation of 73 rapid chargers across the three countries.

Latest environmentally-friendly European projects

Lochaber councillor and Hitrans chairman Allan Henderson said: “The Faster project is the latest in a growing number of environmentally-friendly European projects that Hitrans is delighted to be involved in.

“We are committed to delivering practical projects which contribute towards the greening of transport in our diverse and rural area.

Hitrans is already piloting a series of travel projects

“Faster will share best practice for deploying charge points and promote sustainable transport in the region and help break down the barriers to ownership of EVs.”

Community can play role in making Scotland a greener place

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye Lochaber and Badenoch, added: “Providing a reliable network of rapid charging facilities across many of the more remote parts of Scotland will help remove the barrier to EV ownership and allow these communities to play their role in making Scotland a greener place to live, as well as allowing more visitors to access and contribute to these places.

“I congratulate Hitrans for taking this project forward, and it’s also encouraging to hear that there are further sites in the pipeline with more rapid chargers planned not just for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch – but across the Highlands and Islands as a whole.”

‘Fantastic milestone’

Preliminary work has been conducted on possible locations for the chargers through the Hitrans EV Strategy.

Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing with Transport Scotland project partner Strathclyde University to ensure locations are chosen wisely and in line with grid capacity and existing infrastructure.

University of Strathclyde’s Ryan Sims said: “Finalising site selections for the Scottish region is a fantastic milestone for the Faster project and a big step closer to seeing more charge points in the ground for EV drivers.”

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