Police Scotland spends almost £20m on fleet of electric cars in bid to become 'greenest force' in Britain
In the last three years it has bought 599 specially adapted Hyundai Kona models at a cost of £15.2million, figures released last week show.
That number is expected to increase to 400 over 50 sites.
In October, we revealed that dozens of electric vehicles (EVs) bought by South Lanarkshire Council with £1million of taxpayers’ money had been left abandoned in car parks.
However, Police Scotland said its electric fleet is fully operational.
A spokesman added: “The strategic vision for Police Scotland is to be a fit-for-purpose, efficient, effective and sustainable 21st-century police service.
“In order to do this, significant projects are under way to create a new operating model for the organisation, including the work relating to our fleet.”
Police Scotland signed a contract worth £25million with Hyundai in 2020 to provide electric cars and aims to have an all-electric fleet by 2030. The remaining £6.7million will be used to buy hundreds more electric cars and charging points.
At present most of the electric cars are unmarked and do not carry the normal police livery. They are used as fleet cars by uniform cops and detectives mainly for routine and non-urgent police calls.
However, Police Scotland expects all its EVs to have normal police markings in future and be used on all calls, including 999s. The force did not say if the cars are currently used as pursuit vehicles.
The eco fleet was given a first public outing last November when cars were used to take VIP visitors between Cop26 venues.
Police Scotland aims to be the first UK emergency service with an entire fleet of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) and plans to phase out its diesel and petrol motors over the next six years.
Last year £2.5million was spent on charging points for the cars. Staff and the public will not be allowed to use them.
Earlier this year Police Scotland confirmed unspent money from other budgets had been moved to speed up
the electric vehicle transition.
Many public service bodies are lagging behind with their ULEV car purchases.
In January we revealed only 17 per cent of all fleets at organisations like Scottish Fire & Rescue are electric. Only four per cent of Forestry and Land Scotland’s 604-vehicle fleet are zero emission.
A spokesman for the Greens said: “It is likely that many of these vehicles would have had to be replaced during this timescale in any case, and with petrol and diesel prices at record highs, green investment such as this will ultimately pay for itself in the years to come.”
Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.