GLASGOW taxpayers forked out almost £2million pounds for a fleet of electric cars which were left to gather dust in city parking lots.

As previously revealed by the Glasgow Times, a total of 181 vehicles were bought or hired at various points throughout April 2020 to April 2021.

The fleet, which was made up of cars and small vans, failed to turn a key for up to 15 months, instead gathering dust in Glasgow City Council-owned Charing Cross and Duke Street car parks.

However, it has now been revealed just how much it cost the local authority to acquire the nearly-200 green machines.

The council spent £1,018,753.53 for a three-year contract to hire a share of the eco-friendly vehicles while a further £953,648.20 was used to buy the remaining members of the fleet.

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It’s not known how many were bought compared with rented.

Last month, the council said it was unable to use the vehicles as strict coronavirus restrictions had put a halt to plans for staff training due to social distancing concerns.

Since restrictions eased, bosses have put a third of the electric fleet out onto the streets with a further 1,000 staff to be given driver training to get behind the wheel.

In a response to a freedom of information (FOI) request, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “The Department of Transport suspended in-vehicle driver training due to social distancing requirements. As safety remains a top priority for the Council it is important that council drivers are appropriately trained in the use of these alternative fuel vehicles.

“This specific restriction on training has now been lifted and a third of the vehicles are now in service. Over a thousand staff too are to be trained and the rest of the vehicles will be deployed as the training progresses.

“By further explanation we can advise that Electric Vehicles have different driving characteristics from ICE vehicles and whilst notionally easier, particularly not having a traditional gearbox, our insurers require that our drivers are familiar with the EV features and control.

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“This is to avoid range anxiety and our employees are trained to adopt a sympathetic driving technique, to maximise the EV range.”

The contract for the Nissan vehicles was in place prior to the national Covid-19 shutdown in March.

The fleet was not used until last month, despite the council being forced to pay an eye-watering £403,586.76 over the course of the pandemic to hire Arnold Clark minivans to transport cleansing staff around the city in a bid to comply with social distancing regulations.

Opposition councillors previously slammed the lack of use as “embarrassing” given the city’s role as host for the international UN COP26 summit, which took place earlier this month.