While the Commonwealth Games are held in Scotland, Ioanna Kontoliou took the opportunity to ask the international audience to take part in an informal survey to help her find answers to – what people think about electric vehicles?  

For the last few weeks, everyone visiting and staying in Scotland has been simply overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm for the Commonwealth Games. People from all parts of the world have travelled to Glasgow and the city is buzzing. However, despite the city’s festive mood, the latest air quality monitoring in Scotland, has shown increased toxic air pollution from vehicle exhausts.

Given that it is vehicle exhaust emissions that were found to have a harmful impact on Scotland’s air pollution, I wondered what can we all do to help reduce air pollution?

As we know, the Scottish government has committed to improving air quality and has introduced a variety of measures. Its master plan, includes the “Switched on Scotland” initiative, a roadmap to widespread adoption of electric vehicles. This plan aims to educate people about the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to the environment and encourage their adoption.

But how realistic is this plan and are people ready to switch to electric cars yet? Now, with so many people in the city for the Commonwealth Games, I thought that speaking to them would give us a good idea about this. I chose the following popular spots and here is what I’ve found out:

George Square    

George square is the main square in Glasgow and a central hub for the Games. With a Commonwealth Games flagship store and a variety of events taking place every day, it was easy to approach people and ask what they think about electric vehicles.

I spent a day asking people how familiar they are with electric cars, what is their opinion about their benefits and how easily they would buy one.

It came as no surprise that most people value electric cars high for their environmental credentials. I think the important point to note is that people are convinced about EVs usefulness to the environment.

However, the main reasons they are not planning to buy one soon are the perceived limited range in combination with the high price. With technological advances, a number of people said, they’d be willing to invest in an electric car if they could be reassured of the car’s ability to allow them reach their destination reliably.

University of Glasgow  

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The University of Glasgow, played host to a wide range of Commonwealth Games events including the Commonwealth Games Business Conference, and was therefore at the heart of activities. So I asked them about transportation at the Games and particularly the use of electric vehicles.

Interestingly, the University owns a number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and as members of staff said, it plans to increase the number on its fleet.

Speaking to various members of the University’s staff, including the security guards and drivers, left me feeling very positive about the future of electric cars in Scotland.

As members of staff driving the PHEVs said “these are nice cars to drive..they make you feel good as they are good for our environment and are economic”.

If you ask me, EVs can play a part in controlling air pollution and as these opinions show, we can be optimistic that in Scotland acceptance is growing and people will be willing to buy one if certain barriers such as range anxiety are eliminated. Also, it was clear from the people I spoke to that there is an enthusiasm about electric cars.

There is so much to be said in this topic that I’ll look at other areas in future posts. In the meantime, let me know what you think and join the discussion on Dukosi’s LinkedIn page.