It’s EV-peasy for electric vehicle drivers to discover Orkney
Electric vehicle (EV) drivers planning their next staycation would be well advised to look northwards to the breathtakingly beautiful islands of Orkney. For a start, the EV charging infrastructure is among the best in the country, making it the perfect place to take your electric car on holiday.
Since 2013 Orkney has generated over 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources. Islanders have been quick to plug in to this clean energy – Orkney has more than three times as many EVs per home than the UK average!
For those familiar with the Northern Isles, and its reputation for pioneering green technologies, it will come as no surprise that the islands are ahead of the curve on EV infrastructure.
Host to the North Sea’s powerful winds and waves, the islands have long been a testbed for renewable power. In fact, since 2013 Orkney has generated over 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources. Islanders have been quick to plug in to this clean energy – Orkney has more than three times as many EVs per home than the UK average!
What’s more, the short distances between places in the Orkney Islands can accommodate EVs with even the shortest range. The longest road distance between any two points is the 39 miles between Birsay and Burwick.
There are now charging points dotted all around the islands, so Orkney offers a hassle-free holiday for EV drivers, who can get back to nature and experience rugged Scotland in an environmentally friendly way. Your quiet car will also be appreciated by other visitors enjoying the sound of bird calls and the wash of the sea on the shores.
Plug in at NorthLink Ferries terminals
At NorthLink Ferries, we pride ourselves in offering a gateway to the Northern Isles and are passionate about opening up these unique islands for all to enjoy – including EV drivers.
In addition to the many charging stations available on the islands themselves, at NorthLink Ferries we are installing EV charging points at each of our ferry terminals, so that EV drivers can rest easy when travelling with us, knowing they have the opportunity to recharge for their onward journey on all routes.
There are four ChargePlace Scotland 7kW AC fast charge posts at the Aberdeen Ferry Terminal. At our Scrabster Ferry Terminal you will find a Charge Place Scotland 50kW DC Rapid Charger. These are ideal for charging before customers sail north to the islands.
The Stromness Ferry Terminal is equipped with two 7kW AC fast charge posts. If you are sailing that day, ask NorthLink Ferries’ staff at the reception desk inside the terminal for a charging card. Also, in Stromness, ChargePlace Scotland Rapid and Fast chargers are a two-minute walk from our terminal.
When you arrive at any NorthLink Ferries terminal, please speak with a member of staff who will be happy to help you access the charging points.
Top Tips for EV owners visiting Orkney
- The majority of public charging points in Orkney (and in the rest of Scotland) are run by ChargePlace Scotland. We would strongly recommend requesting a ChargePlace Scotland card a few weeks before your visit for easy access to their charging points.
- All the ChargePlace Scotland Rapid chargers in Orkney have three connections for Chadamo, CCS, and AC equipped vehicles (AC for older Renault Zoes to Rapid charge).
- Other chargers may come from Pod Point (especially at supermarkets), so make sure you download the app and put some money in your Pod Point wallet before charging.
- Be aware that some public chargers will fine you by the minute if you overstay. You are usually allowed to recharge for up to an hour, but details should be found on the machine itself. Please be considerate to other EV owners by moving your vehicle away from the charging space once charging is completed.
- In Orkney, public chargers tend to be in the main towns and villages. They are often close to supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, galleries, and shops, so there should be plenty to keep you occupied whilst you wait. You may wish to consider choosing accommodation in towns and villages with public 7kW AC fast charge posts, so you can fully charge whilst you sleep!
- Some accommodation providers may offer EV chargers. If you have a three pin plug charging cable, other accommodation providers may be willing to let you charge overnight from the domestic supply if you offer to pay them (perhaps a little bit more than what you use.)
- Range may be affected by colder weather, and air resistance can cause a higher energy consumption. Be aware of this when driving in rural island locations which can be quite windy!
- Be aware that, although distances in Orkney are short, you can cover a significant number of miles in a day whilst exploring.
- The journey north to our Scrabster port (near Thurso) and Aberdeen port to Orkney can be long. Even when using an EV with a longer range, you may need to charge at least once.
- Glasgow to Inverness is 187 miles,
- Edinburgh to Inverness is 155 miles, and
- from Inverness to Thurso it is 110 miles.
- Glasgow to Aberdeen is 145 miles.
- Edinburgh to Aberdeen is 127 miles.
- Aberdeen to Thurso is 211 miles.
- Plan your route ahead of your journey north and make use of online maps such as Zap Map or any onboard maps you may have in your car. The A9 has many stops on route which have ChargePlace Scotland Rapid chargers, so explore Perth, Pitlochry, Tomatin, Dingwall, Golspie, Brora and Helmsdale on your way to our Scrabster ferry terminal, where there are many interesting shops and cafes to explore whilst you recharge.
- Ensure you have plenty of time to reach your destination and be aware that at NorthLink Ferries terminals, vehicle and passenger check-in closes 30 minutes before each sailing.
- When you check in, you will receive a green EV hanger. It can hang from your rear-view mirror and should be clearly displayed when your vehicle is on the car deck. The reason for this is that NorthLink Ferries have procedures specific to the carriage of EV’s, which would be implemented in the unlikely event of an EV vehicle fire. These green placards allow our onboard staff to identify the location of hybrid or EV vehicles once onboard. When you arrive at your destination, store your green hanger carefully so that it can be reused on your return journey!
- If you want to travel to Orkney as a foot passenger and hire a car on the island, ReFLEX Orkney and the Co Wheels Orkney Car Club offer EVs for hire by the hour and by the day in both Stromness and Kirkwall.
- Make sure you have plenty of fun using an EV to drive around the quiet island roads – there’s so much to see amongst the stones and sea and loch and skies of Orkney.
Orkney and Shetland enthusiast, family man, loves walks, likes animals, terrible at sports, dire taste in music, adores audiobooks and films, eats a little too much for his own good.