College is plugging the electricity gap in Falkirk

Denny's Derek Dillon and unique electric-engined vintage car
Denny's Derek Dillon and unique electric-engined vintage car

Motoring in the Falkirk district is entering the post-petrol age with the first public charging point for electric cars going live.

The device has been installed at Forth Valley College in Grangemouth Road and will enable electric vehicle drivers to charge their engines and keep them running smoothly.

Previously, owners of such cars would have to install charging points at home or rely on the few public devices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Around 4500 electric cars have been sold across the UK, but there has been a 70 per cent increase in sales over the past year.

As the number of public charging points increases, it is expected sales of the environmentally-friendly vehicles will steadily rise.

Falkirk Council already operates a fleet of four electric cars, and now Forth Valley College has announced plans to make the switch away from petrol engines.

Clare Shiels, head of facilities, said: “This move to electric vehicles is a central part of our sustainability strategy, but we also see it very much as a community resource as well.

“Anyone who has an electric vehicle can use this charging station free of charge during college hours.”

“We want to position the college at the forefront of public sector organisations championing ultra-low emission vehicle use. It will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and shrink our carbon footprint, while hopefully encouraging more local people to switch to electric as well.”

One man who has already made that switch is Derek Dillon from Denny.

The 36-year-old mechanical engineer bought a battered 1952 Wolseley 6/80 car 16 years ago, and originally planned to fit it with a sporty V8 engine for use as a run-around.

Following the birth of his first child, he decided that he wanted something more environmentally friendly – so instead fitted the Wolseley with a custom-built electric engine.

He welcomed the news that a public charge point was being installed in Falkirk.

“In principle it’s great news,” he said. “But we still need a lot more to make electric cars a viable alternative.”