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.
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.”