HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, says it is delighted to have attracted funding of £1.5 million to deliver the installation of a network of 24 rapid charging points on the west coast of the Highlands and Islands..

Units will be installed in rural parts of Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Argyll and Bute and the Western Isles at locations yet to be confirmed.

It intends to employ two new members of staff to deliver the project, which has attracted European Union funding and support from the Scottish Government.

The FASTER Project - Facilitating a Sustainable Transition to Electric Vehicles in the Regions – aims to ensure that the availability of charging stations is not a major obstacle to EV market penetration, with the proposal to carry out the design and analysis, procurement, installation and operation of 73 rapid chargers (50KW capacity) across the 3 countries. It will also provide an additional supportive, enabling environment for suppliers and consumers and provide increased confidence and reassurance in regional commitment to the emerging EV market.

Lochaber Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair 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 deliveing 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.

HITRANS has tapped into European collaboration to help deliver the FASTER. It is 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.