Electric vehicle drivers are set to face charges for the electricity which has previously been provided for free since installation.

North Ayrshire’s Cabinet agreed plans to introduce tariffs at charge points as part of plans to roll out the use of EVs further.

Drivers will be charged 30p per kWh for Rapid charge points (over 43kW) and 19p per kWh for Destination charge points (all slower charge points e.g. 22kW, 7kW and 3kW).

An overstay flat fee of £10 will automatically apply after 70 minutes for rapid charge points and 190 minutes for destination charge points.

The council installed its first charge point back in 2014 and has installed 24 as of December 2020 –all funded through Transport Scotland’s ChargePlace Scotland Network programme.

Cabinet meeting papers state: “The council has provided free electricity from charge points to EV users since 2014. It is proposed that Cabinet approves the introduction of a tariff and overstay fee for EV charge points across North Ayrshire.

“The electricity cost for these EV charge points has been increasing every year. In 2020, the annual electricity cost was £20,345, which reflects both public (£18,144) and NAC fleet vehicle (£2,201) use.

“Due to the increasing electricity costs it is no longer sustainable for the council to provide free electricity for public EV infrastructure.”

“To ensure North Ayrshire Council can maintain and grow its EV charging infrastructure, it is vital that there is a move towards a sustainable model which includes the introduction of charging tariffs and overstay fee. 12 out of 32 Scottish councils have already introduced tariffs.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Green New Deal and Sustainability, said: “We are very proud of the work we have carried out so far as part of our ambitious plans to tackle the climate crisis.

“We have set ourselves a target of being a Carbon net-zero area by 2030, so it’s vital that all of us play our part in that journey.

“As part of our new Climate Change Strategy - which builds on our recent policy announcements on the Green Jobs Fund, food growing, tree planting and our council-owned solar farm – we are publishing our first Electric Vehicle Strategy.

“This sets out our aspiration to expand our electric vehicle charging point network across North Ayrshire as we encourage more people to consider electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle climate change.”