Once seen as the future of road travel, Electric cars (EVs) are now here and revving to go. They help drivers save money and bring lots of eco benefits. Scotland’s EV charging network also makes it easier than ever to get around in an electric car. 

Whether you’re the proud owner of your own EV car or are curious about hiring one, here’s what you need to know.

Couple electric car

What are the benefits to driving an EV in Scotland?

The biggest advantage is their reduced impact on the environment. Unlike fossil fuel powered cars, electric cars are powered by rechargeable electric batteries which don’t produce exhaust fumes. This reduces air pollution, especially in congested areas. 

They’re also much quieter and help combat noise pollution.

What’s the difference between an EV and plug-in hybrid car?

An electric car runs solely on an electric battery. A plug-in hybrid car has both an electric battery and a gas engine. In short, you have access to an alternative power source when one runs out. It’s a great option if you’re planning to do a lot of long-distance driving – especially in more remote areas.

Are electric cars cost-effective to run?

Electric cars are considerably cheaper to run than the typical gas or diesel car. Depending on the energy supplier tariff and if it’s charged during peak or off-peak times, it can cost as little as £1.30 to drive 100 miles (161 km). 

How far can I drive an EV before topping up the battery?

Depending on the model of your electric car, on average you can expect to drive between 150-300 miles (240-483 km) before having to recharge your vehicle.

A plug-in hybrid will drive from 10-50 miles (16-80 km) using electricity before switching to diesel or petrol.  

Depending on how much driving you do on holiday, you might not even need to recharge your EV.

How do I find a charging station?

ChargePlace Scotland is the country’s national EV charging network and currently offers 2,286 charging points across the country. New charge points are always being added but always check the distance between charging points, availability and type before setting off. The time to charge can vary depending on the station. You can see the location and status of all the chargers on the live map and using the app.

Zap Map is another great resource. It also has a live map and an app.

You can also usually find charging stations in service stations. Companies like Tesla operate their own Supercharger stations which you can find using their customised apps.

Electric car charging in Dundee

How do I charge an electric car?

Charging your electric car is straightforward. Simply unplug the connector from the station and insert it into the port to start charging. 

At some stations, you may have to activate them first using the app provided by the car manufacturer or with a contactless bank or credit card, or an RFID card (Radio Frequency Identity Card). 

Many vehicles will also come with their own portable three-pin plug and attached lead which can be connected to a household electrical supply. 

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

It depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. The slow-charging method can take up as much as 36 hours to fully recharge.

If you can book accommodation which offers access to a charging station, a good solution is to recharge your vehicle overnight. While time consuming, this method helps prolong the battery life.

The most popular option is fast charging. Depending on the size and manufacture, it can take anywhere from under six to twelve hours to recharge a car battery.

Use your preferred app to pinpoint the ‘rapid’ or ‘fast’ charging station nearest you. 

Where can I learn to drive an electric car?

Get to grips with rapidly evolving new car technology at the Arnold Clark Innovation Centre

The car dealership has two centres – one in Glasgow and another in Stafford, England.

Learn everything about driving, charging, and getting the most out of your alternative fuel vehicle. You can even take a tailored test drive so you can be confident the next time you get behind the wheel. 

 Book an appointment to get started.