Around £7.8 million is being made available, interest-free, through the Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund, to help businesses and consumers reduce their transport emissions. Individuals can apply for to £35,000, while businesses can access up to £100,000.
Open for applications now via the Energy Saving Trust, the loan can be repaid over a period of up to six years.
Earlier this week, Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf visited East Coast Organics, a Pentcaitland farm using electric vehicles for their delivery services, to see how the loans can benefit business.
The Minister said: “The Scottish Government has set a clear vision of freeing Scotland’s towns, cities and communities from the damaging emissions of fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2050.
Our aim is to help support the move to low carbon road transport by getting more electric vehicles on the road, and, where there are not currently electric alternatives, make the existing fleet more efficient.
“This £7.8 million investment in interest free loans presents a significant increase on previous years funding and presents a fantastic opportunity for those who have been seriously considering purchasing an electric vehicle.
“Making the switch to electric, enables businesses and individuals to make a direct contribution to local air quality, whilst also improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.
Harry Mayers, Energy Saving Trust’s head of new services, said: “This new funding will help save Scotland more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2: the equivalent of removing over 4,000 cars from Scottish roads for a year.
“Encouraging people to swap petrol and diesel cars for electric also has a big impact on air quality so this initiative will help to improve people’s health in Scotland.”
He added: “Although running costs for electric cars are lower than petrol or diesel, the initial purchase cost is generally still a bit higher. These loans will help make it possible for more people to choose a better option for the longer term.”
Mike Callender, East Coast Organics Farm Managing Director: “All of our 2,000 weekly deliveries are within 30 miles of the farm and done by our new fleet of electric vans. So now, you can get the best, healthiest food, free from harmful pesticides and also get it delivered by a vehicle that runs on renewable energy and produces no harmful emissions in to the environment. A truly local, green company!”
There has been steady growth in the number of electric cars on Scotland’s roads in the last ten years. Last year alone saw a 54% growth in the number of plug-in electric vehicles registered.
Businesses can use the loan for a range of other sustainable transport projects including installing vehicle telematics, video conferencing and cycling facilities.
Hackney cab drivers can apply for loans to cover the cost of a more efficient taxi, up to £100,000 per applicant.
In addition to the loan, the existing UK Government Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme offers grants of up to £4,500 for those buying a new electric car and £8,000 for a van (discounted at purchase point).
Applications are open now and will be accepted up to March 31, 2017, or until all funding has been allocated.
Commuters and private motorists can apply for the loan through Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
Businesses can apply for the loan by contacting their local Energy Saving Trust transport advisor on 0800 0931 669. For more information, visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/fleet