SCOTLAND is not ready to fully transition to electric vehicles due to lack of infrastructure and insufficient charging points, according to the chief executive of leading chauffeur drive company, Little’s.
Heather Matthews, chief executive of the Glasgow-based family business, said that while there will be an “advance in the net-zero agenda” in Scotland as a result of the forthcoming COP26 climate change conference, there is still much work to be done in terms of the infrastructure required to put more electric vehicles on the road.
Little’s is set to benefit from the UN climate change conference taking place in Glasgow and Ms Matthews noted that the event would be a showcase “not only for us but for Glasgow and for Scotland and the UK”, admitting that it would greatly boost Little’s as it recovers from the pandemic.
“COP26 is an opportuntiy to have the world looking at Scotland and we can reassure the world we are open for business again,” said Ms Matthews. “But to actually have a net-zero conference is going to be much more difficult than the politicians think.”
Little’s had previously intended to transition to a fully electric fleet by 2025 but this timescale has drifted due to the pandemic.
“We’re also looking at other technologies including hybrid,” she said. “We have a lot of hybrids at the moment and I am keen to keep that hybrid mix because the infrastructure is not here in Glasgow, it is not here in the whole of Scotland.
“Until the infrastructure here is as good as it is in central London then it is going to be a while longer before we can go down the electric road.”
Discussing the importance of family businesses to the Scottish economy, Ms Matthews reminded Go Radio host Donald Martin, and business leaders Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter, that the top 100 family firms in Scotland generate £2.2 billion in turnover per year – and £1.4bn in profits.
“They employ over 50 per cent of private sector employers – that’s almost one million people across Scotland,” she added.