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Twenty-four new rapid charging points will be installed in Argyll and Bute and the west Highlands in a bid to break down the main barriers to ownership of electrical vehicles in rural communities.
HITRANS received £1.5 million in funding and intends to employ two new members of staff to deliver the project, which has attracted Euro funding and support from the Scottish Government. Units will be installed in Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Argyll and Bute and the Western Isles at locations yet to be confirmed.
HITRANS has tapped into a European collaboration to help deliver the FASTER Project – Facilitating a Sustainable Transition to Electric Vehicles in the Regions. It is a project supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project will assist with analysis of the planning and procurement requirements needed to kick start a commercial charging service. Ireland and Northern Ireland are included in the project partners.
Lochaber Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of HITRANS, said the FASTER project was the latest in a growing number of environmentally-friendly European projects that HITRANS was involved in.
He said: ‘We are committed to delivering practical projects which contribute towards the greening of transport in our diverse and rural area. FASTER will share best practice for deploying charge points and promote sustainable transport in the region. We are leading on the design and procurement work package, and it is expected that we will install 24 rapid charge points or more if budget allows.’
He said preliminary work has been conducted on possible locations for the chargers through the HITRANS EV Strategy, and discussions were ongoing with Transport Scotland project partner Strathclyde University (engaging with SSE Networks) to ensure locations were chosen wisely and in line with grid capacity and existing infrastructure.