I READ with interest about the infrastructure failures around the charging points for electric vehicles at train stations in East Lothian.

Five of the six charging points for electric vehicles at train stations in East Lothian are out of action. This is despite the fact they were taken out of commission by ScotRail nine months ago after the discovery of wiring faults. At the time, ScotRail said that they would be out of action for just six weeks.

This is symbolic of the bigger problem we have in relation towards infrastructure in this country. Getting these charging points functioning should have happened by now because they are vital to moving us off petrol and diesel vehicles and on to vehicles that are environmentally friendly.

Electric cars are the future but too often we don’t treat them like that. Electric cars are no longer the EV problem-riddled vehicles built by the likes of Honda, Toyota, etc. of the 1990s but a realistic option for transport for the masses, but only if we are willing to invest in them properly. That investment is not only financial, though – it also means proper investment in terms of making them a priority as part of our transport strategies.

The need is clear: there are more than a billion passenger cars in the world making a huge contribution to pollution and global warming, but only three million are electric. There are other environmental benefits that can be felt closer to home, such as the lack of exhaust emissions.

Better air quality will lead to fewer health problems. Studies have shown that vehicles are also a source of much of our air pollution, which can be directly linked to 500,000 early deaths a year in Europe. Electric vehicles are also quieter than petrol and diesel vehicles, which means less noise pollution.

Another societal benefit on a national level is that it will reduce our need for energy imports, particularly foreign oil and thus the need for us to be dependent on oil-rich regimes like Saudi Arabia.

For the individual as well there are of course benefits, such as the fact that electric vehicles are cheaper to own and operate. There is relatively little servicing and no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators and many other parts.

Electric cars and vehicles are the future but we need to do more to prepare for that future now. And we need organisations like ScotRail to lead that change.