A new charging hub for electric cars has opened in Dundee.
The city has one of the highest concentrations of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK.
The new hub, situated on top of Greenmarket car park, is the first of three planned in Dundee. It uses solar canopies and a battery storage system to charge up 20 vehicles at a time.
Currently, vehicles can be charged for free but the city council plans to bring in phased tariffs from November.
Dundee has more than 130 electric taxis and the city council says its own fleet of electric cars and vans is the largest of any local authority in the UK.
The new hub, along with two more planned for the Bell Street and Olympia multi-storey car parks, will provide an extra 300 charge point connections across the city.
With more than half the population of Dundee not having a driveway or off-street parking, the aim is to allow commuters to charge at the new hubs during the day, with residents of nearby homes able to access them at night.
Ryan Todd, who runs a taxi business in city, said he started switching his fleet to electric vehicles because of the cost, but now it also makes more business sense.
“If I could run a fleet of electric vehicles, or a fleet of diesel vehicles, it would be electric all day long,” he said.
“There’s just so little that goes wrong with them.”
Electric coach service
Fraser Crichton from Dundee City Council said the capacity of the new hub was allowing the council to look at other opportunities to increase electric vehicle use, including the possibility of an electric coach service.
“We have got an 800 kilowatt transformer here, so there’s a lot of power,” he said.
“That mean as there’s an increase in EVs we can start increasing the numbers here. However, we still have a lot of power in excess.
“We are speaking to quite a lot of parties, but one of the real exciting ones that we are looking at is potentially a coach company starting from here. A pure electric coach, inner city, going to Glasgow and Edinburgh from Dundee and that would be the first in the UK.”
The city council has said the uptake in electric vehicles has been so great that it will now start charging for charging.
Elinor Chalmers, from the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland, said it was not surprising that the “honeymoon period” was over.
“As long as it is fairly priced then at the end of the day it is still going to be cheaper than filling up your car with petrol or diesel,” she said.
“People are doing less than 2p a mile – which you are not going to get any time soon with a petrol or diesel vehicle.
“It’s been very nice having it for free, but this infrastructure doesn’t pay for itself.”