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Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

The Scottish Government recently announced the phasing out of the internal combustion engine by 2032, i.e. in 15 years time. To support the policy it was also announced that the A9 trunk road would be electrified with the provision of charging points along the route. Like all announcements made by the Scottish Government on energy policy I viewed it with some skepticism and I wanted to find out what it would entail. Did this mean hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of charging points?

The A9 Trunk Road Route

The A9 today originates in the heart of Scotland’s densely populated Central Belt near the town of Dunblane, the home of Andy Murray. The road is in three main sections. Dunblane to Perth (29 miles); Perth to Inverness (112 miles) and Inverness to Thurso (109 miles) giving a grand total of 250 miles. It is Scotland’s longest road. Thurso lies on the N coast and is home to the Dounreay fast breeder reactor (now being decommissioned).

Figure 1 The route of the A9 showing the towns mentioned in the text. Blackford and Tomatin are the points where traffic volumes are recorded.

The most famous section is Perth to Inverness since just N of Perth the road enters the Highlands and winds its way north through the scenic Grampian and Cairngorm Mountains and it is this section that will be the focus of this post.

Electric Car Range

“Family” electric cars today have a typical range of 100 miles. Teslas will give you 200 to 400 miles but only through cramming a huge battery pack into the chassis adding lots of weight and cost. While there is much ‘Greenspeak’ about battery technology improvements, in reality battery technology has not improved much for decades since the Li ion battery came of age.

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