When we heard that Scottish Transport Secretary Graeme Dey MSP was coming to Orkney, OREF swung into action to put on a bit of a welcome.
OREF members Jonathan Porterfield and Chair Neil Kermode arranged for part of the Great Western Road carpark to be coned off and the word was put out on social media, to those on OREF’s EV mileage database and by ReFLEX for any EVs in the area to congregate on Wednesday 11th of August 2021.
When the Minister arrived he found a welcoming committee of 46 EVs, drivers and passengers.
The gathering provided the opportunity for the Minister to meet drivers and discuss issues which included:
- The adequacy of the locations of public EV chargers, but the inadequacies of Charge Place Scotland’s support. This leads to unreliability on the wider network and a loss of confidence in them.
- 95% of the drivers had taken them on for environmental reasons and the remainder because they were cheaper to run.
- There was a call for all new properties to be ‘EV ready’ with installed points and wiring.
- All holiday accommodation (hotels, self-catering and B&Bs) should be EV enabled.
- That EVs are not just cars, but we need to decarbonise/electrify our public and wider transport.
- The payment arrangements for public charging are poor and should rely on a debit card, not a plethora of other cards and apps. As was pointed out ‘I can buy petrol anywhere on a debit card, why not electricity?’
- The point was also made that the leadership of Transport Scotland to fund the installation of public charge points, and OIC’s willingness to put them in were key steps in initiating the transition to EVs in the county.
The drivers were disappointed to hear that the Secretary didn’t drive and EV himself yet, but as he toured the assorted cars present he definitely seemed to warm to the idea. As was said at the time ‘We are watching…’