Scotland could need more than 4,000 new public charge points each year over the next decade to meet growing demand from electric vehicles (EVs), a report says.
There are currently just 2,558 public charge points across the country, most of which are provided by the ChargePlace Scotland scheme.
A Transport Scotland report released on Wednesday warns the Government-funded scheme will struggle to keep up with demand and more private investment will be required for a “major” increase in charge points.
The Scottish Government wants to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to meet climate change targets, with EVs making up a growing share of new cars.
Quoting research from the Climate Change Committee, the report says an estimated 30,000 charge points will be needed in Scotland by 2030.
It says: “Further rapid growth in the number of plug-in electric vehicles over the next few years is to be expected as costs of vehicles come down and consumer confidence grows.
“This will of course necessitate the need for further significant investment in charging infrastructure, including public charge points.”
The report also warns the cost of upgrading the electricity network to accommodate the new infrastructure will be significant and could stretch to £5 billion across the UK by 2030.
Since 2013, the Scottish Government has funded more than 1,800 charging sites through the ChargePlace Scotland network, with many providing free electricity.
Responding to the report, transport minister Graeme Dey said the model for public charging infrastructure needs to “evolve”.
He said: “This report is clear that we are now at a tipping point in terms of current demand and future requirements.
“By retaining the best characteristics that Scotland enjoys through ChargePlace Scotland, the opportunities from inviting greater private sector involvement could be tremendous.
“To meet our world-leading climate targets, of course we need to see less car use rather than more.
“For those that need to drive, the opportunities afforded by electric vehicles for our climate and our air quality are profound.”