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Police Scotland given £10m to procure new electric car fleet

Police Scotland is set to buy 235 electric cars in a bid to update its ageing fleet of patrol vehicles.

The Scottish Government has provided an extra £10m for low emissions police cars.

The new funding tranche, given to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), will allow for the purchase of 235 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

The extra cash is on top of £25m spent by the force installing 400 charging points at its stations.

Police Scotland will replace 140 vehicles running on fossil fuels, as well as taking a step towards the Scottish Government’s target of having the UK’s first ultra-low emissions emergency services fleet by 2030.

SPA chairman Martyn Evans said the funding was an “extremely welcome investment” that will allow 20% of the current police fleet to be environmentally friendly this year.

The cash is a lifeline as the force’s current fleet has major issues.

The force’s Federation warned last year that the majority of vehicles being used by officers are more than five years old and have in excess of 150,000 miles on the clock.

Among the ageing fleet are BMW X5s, one off which was taken off the road for examination earlier this year after two armed response officers were hospitalised from exhaust fumes.

Models and specifications have yet to be confirmed but the force has committed to buying 180 Hyundai Kona Electric cars .

Stretching the £10m budget to create a new fleet will be challenging  despite the government grant of £2,500 per vehicle.

Most small urban electric cars cost around £20,000 and have a range of around 200 miles per charge.

Vehicles costing £40,000 have a range of 250 miles. It’s at this price point that performance begins to match traditional vehicles.

Kia has been rated by motor testers as having developed the best batteries and some of the prestige brands – Volvo, Jaguar and Tesla – offer performance comparable with faster petrol cars. But the premium cars come with a premium price: the award-winning Jaguar I-Pace costs £65,000.

The Hyundai Kona Electric ordered by Police Scotland costs £38,000 and has a range of 279 miles. Performance from the front-wheel drive car is average with a 0-60mph time of eight seconds and a top speed of 100mph.

And there is another issue. Infrastructure development is still lagging outside of police yards; there remains a shortage of charging points so vehicles have to be charged overnight.

The force’s chief said the investment would ensure frontline officers and staff had the tools they need to do their jobs.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “This additional capital funding for policing is a significant step forward in providing appropriate investment in policing infrastructure.

 “Reform of policing in Scotland has brought many benefits to all communities across the country at a much reduced cost to the public purse.”

The announcement, which came just days after positive performance figures were released, is part of an attempt to give the force a clean slate to focus on modernisation.

CC Livingstone said: “This welcome investment and the decision to eliminate policing’s structural funding deficit reflects the significant value policing provides to the public we serve.”

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