Identifying international leading practice in relation to enabling ULEV uptake

Transport is the highest emitting sector in Scotland, accounting for 37% of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. Despite this, the sector is well placed to contribute to Scotland’s decarbonisation goals and the Scottish Government has pledged to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans  by 2032.


A number of  countries have already made significant progress in enabling ULEV uptake. Learnings from the practice and experiences of those other countries could be applied to support the transition to ULEVs in Scotland.


Research aims:


  • Countries and regions where policies and interventions have driven the uptake of ULEVs
  • The sectors within which ULEV uptake has been successful in these countries and regions, and comparing these with Scotland’s progress
  • The policies and programmes that were deployed to enable ULEV development in these countries and regions
  • Where Scotland could develop an international leading position, and developing recommendations on the potential for Scotland to adopt successful international policy and practice to accelerate ULEV uptake


Seven international case studies were developed to explore the level of ULEV adoption that has been achieved, and how this has been done.

Case study key findings:


  • Shenzen, China is the first city in the world to have a fully electric bus fleet which has been supported by an annual subsidy to major bus operators in the city, and an extensive charging network.
  • The Netherlands has the most comprehensive charging network in Europe which has been enabled by interoperability across operators in both the fast and rapid charging networks.
  • Japan has a strong ULEV manufacturing industry which has been stimulated by long term R&D investment.
  • Shanghai, China boasts a large-scale electric car share scheme supported by free parking and subsidies for infrastructure, and an EV consumer awareness campaign centred on an EV demonstration centre.
  • California, USA has a high uptake of ULEVs as a result of their Zero Emission Vehicle policy which forced manufacturers to produce low emission vehicles.
  • In Norway, BEVs made up 30% of new car sales in 2018. This has been enabled through a programme of incentives such as VAT exemptions and reduced tax rates.


A second phase in this research then matched examples of international leading practice in supporting the adoptions of ULEVs, against a range of ULEV market segments that had been identified through the ClimateXChange study: ULEV Market Segmentation in Scotland, published in December 2019.

Key findings on opportunities for Scotland:


  • International progress in some segments remains relatively underdeveloped and could pose an opportunity for Scotland to take a leading role. These segments relate to vehicles which are heavily utilised, but make up a small proportion of the total vehicle mix e.g. taxis, car share vehicles and public sector fleets.
  • The ULEV battery market is still maturing and there is potential here for significant innovation.
  • There is an opportunity to build on progress being made with the development of charging infrastructure, through the design and manufacture of fully integrated charging solutions. These would include on-site generation, battery storage solutions and innovative charging techniques.