The transformation of a once-vacant Dundee yard into a site dedicated to electric vehicles is “globally impressive” and could inspire cities across the globe, it has been claimed.
A new Princes Street facility complete with with solar canopies, charging points and electrical infrastructure, designed to meet all the needs of those taking to the roads in eco-friendly cars, was officially opened on Friday morning.
The city site was once a petrol station but had lain vacant until a £1.86 million investment from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles made the development possible.
Dundee has been hailed for leading the way in the use of electric vehicles – with 100 taxis in the city now running on electricity.
Visitors from as far afield as France, Germany, the US and New Zealand – in the city for a low emissions conference – were among those in attendance at Friday’s opening ceremony.
Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, Scottish minister for public health, sport and wellbeing, carried out the opening – claiming the city is at the “forefront of EV vehicles”.
He said: “This is a really exciting day for Dundee. It is probably the premier charging hub in the country, showing that Dundee is well ahead of the curve.
“We’ve got more vehicles in Dundee, the council shift towards electric vehicles and the number of electric vehicle taxis; we have now got the numbers that we can sustain the investment in infrastructure that we’re seeing here and elsewhere in the city.”
Convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee Lynne Short added: “This is an incredibly proud moment for both myself and the people of Dundee.
“What we have here is an opportunity to have a cleaner, greener city which is better for the future of the city and the children within the city.
“There’s people come from all over the UK to learn what we are doing here because we are very much at the vanguard and the front of this.
“Larger cities around the world are also looking at Dundee. If it is possible on a scale here in Dundee then it’s possible to scale (it) up to the bigger cities.”
Dee West of ChargeNet, who travelled from Auckland, New Zealand, for the low emissions conference, said Dundee is “holding its own on a global standard” thanks to the new facility.
The 40-year-old, who has helped lead the way in bringing electric vehicle infrastructure to her country, said: “This is amazing. What you’ve accomplished here is globally impressive. We don’t have anything like this in New Zealand.
“We’re always learning. There’s so much for us to learn from each other. We’ve taken a very different approach to the hub approach at the moment. What we’re doing is we’re making sure there is at least one station every 70-80km.”
Renske Schuitmaker, an analyst with the International Energy Agency, made the journey from Paris.
She said: “It’s incredible to see the charging infrastructure is already built to such a large scale, even though probably the total number of electric vehicles is probably still quite low.
“It is very important this transition to electric vehicles really happens. For me it’s very inspirational because I mostly work with bigger cities, capitals.
“For me it’s really the first time I’m in a smaller city where I’ve seen the same enthusiasm and action happening. It’s very inspiring to see.”