Planning committee asked to approve charging points for electric cars

The council’s new charging points for electric cars have been installed to address the “chicken and egg” problem that prevents people from buying alternatively-powered vehicles.

Michael Craigie
Michael Craigie

The Viking Bus Station, the North Ness Business Park and the Clickimin Centre have all been chosen as locations for charging infrastructure aimed at helping “green” drivers keen to move away from fossil fuels. Other charging points at Grantfield and the Lerwick Health Centre have also been put in place.

The move was made possible by a £77,000 funding package from the Scottish government. The money was aimed at helping the authority reduce its carbon emissions.

Councillors will be asked to give the points retrospective planning permission when they meet tomorrow.

Electric cars are still an extremely rare sight. The best-known user in the isles is former head of SIC ports and harbours Jim Dickson, who bought a Nissan Leaf two years ago. His car has been charged overnight at his home, with energy coming from a 2.5kw wind turbine.

SIC head of transport Michael Craigie said the move to install the charging points had been made to make life easier for people thinking about buying an electric car.

“We’re resolving at the moment the means by which, if at all, we charge for these facilities, or whether they are free to the public,” Mr Craigie said.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation. Without the infrastructure there’s not a big attraction to buy vehicles that, lets be honest, are a bit more expensive than the normal ones.

“With infrastructure coming into place, that then provides a motivation to purchase and use these vehicles.

“The Scottish government view … is that if we provide the infrastructure initially then folk are more able to invest in these alternative technologies. Once it becomes more available to folk then the choice becomes easier.”


Add Your Comment
  • Douglas Young

    • May 13th, 2013 20:49

    There are no electric cars in Shetland, but there are a couple of hugely expensive, unsaleable battery cars which have neither the economic nor green credentials to achieve the results of many modern diesels. Indeed, there was a class action in USA against the unrealistic economy claims of Toyota’s Prius and manufactures are having to lease the batteries as when they fail the cost is several thousands of pounds. Try selling a secondhand battery car.
    Honda make an electric car running on hydrogen which I think can be filled up at the UK’s one Hydrogen filling station. It produces only water and is a real “green” car.
    Avoid battery cars if you want to be green, get a modern diesel, take the bus, get a bike, or walk.

  • Colin HUnter

    • May 13th, 2013 21:39

    I do not actually believe these cars to be “Green” at all. All they are is an expensive toy which has limited range and appeal and, far from being “Zero emmissions” it may be argued that all they do is shift the source of pollution to another point, and may, due to losses in the electrical transmission system, actually cause more pollution per kilowatt than conventional motor cars. The only way they can truly be “Green” is if the power they consume is generated by renewables, as in a wind or tidal turbine, or by Hydro. Shame there’s so much opposition to windfarms!

  • ian tinkler

    • May 13th, 2013 21:53

    I think I have heard it all now. CO2 footprint of charged cars, using the grid for charging, on Shetland, until viable green energy production is established is far higher than using diesel and petrol. Burn fossil fuels at Gremister, generate electricity with that, and then charge cars with it. About the greatest way of creating CO2 imaginable without going back to coal and steam engines. What kind of total idiot thought this up, certainly someone in total ignorance of basic science or unable to apply it?

  • Bill Smale

    • May 17th, 2013 12:04

    There is something wonderfully ironic about installing a charging point at the Viking Bus Station which the SIC was considering closing just a few months ago. Douglas Young is correct in his assertion that the council should be encouraging people – especially elected members and its own staff – to travel on its highly subsidised buses.
    The idea of a charging point where there is no charge for hitching up to an electric supply of upto 7KW is also a bit rich at a time when the Council is promoting a government backed scheme to reduce fuel poverty. Will Viking Energy provide some free electricity too – or just more hot air?

  • Jerry McIver

    • May 20th, 2013 22:03

    Shetland is an island at the epicentre of north sea energy, has supply boats in and out all the time, sometimes carrying not much. It has to import everything, warmly welcomed Tesco and last christmas preferred the retailer airfrieght in christmas puddings rather than support the local shops. It has two airports and talk of a third with numerous flights a day, is reached by 4 hugely thirsty ferries that run regardless of how many people are actually travelling and link to a place at least 90 miles further than the closest landfall on mainland Scotland.

    The CO2 generated to import and install a couple of electric car charging points will probably far exceed any CO2 they’ll ever save. If CO2 reduction is seriously a goal, there are much much bigger targets to go at than enabling a couple of people a very slightly larger choice of new car.


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