Fact Check-The Scottish Government did not buy 20 Tesla cars ahead of COP26

A rumour that the Scottish Government has bought 20 Tesla electric cars at a cost of £2m to transport COP26 delegates is false, Britain’s Cabinet Office has told Reuters.

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference which takes place in Glasgow in November (here).

The UK government is hosting the event, with Alok Sharma, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's cabinet, holding the position of COP26 President (here , here).

Speculation over transport for delegates has spread on social media, with various posts suggesting that the government had paid £100,000 per car in order to transport dignitaries to the summit in Glasgow.

However, the Cabinet Office spokesperson told Reuters by email that this was not correct.

“COP26 has not purchased or will be using any Tesla’s for COP26 travel arrangements,” the spokesperson said.

Jaguar Land Rover is instead providing around 240 electric vehicles for the summit, but these are not being purchased by the government.

On Sept. 16, the Cabinet Office announced Jaguar Land Rover had become an official partner of the conference and was supplying a fleet of electrified vehicles (here).

The announcement said: “Jaguar Land Rover has a successful history in similar events including the recent G7 summit in the UK. The vehicles have all been sourced from existing fleets in the UK, helping ensure the carbon footprint remains low.”

Many of the social media posts also criticised an apparent lack of charging points, claiming large diesel generators would be required to charge electric cars here, here ).

When asked about this point, the Cabinet Office spokesperson said that organisers were “still working through where and how many generators will be needed” but added that electric vehicles would not need “big diesel” generators to power them.

The spokesperson said, “where generators are required for charging EVs, these will run on HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) recycled cooking oil, derived from waste products.”

This plan drew criticism from sustainable transport alliance Transform Scotland, whose director Colin Howden told The Scotsman (here “It’s disgraceful that the UK Government is scrambling to put in chip-fat powered generators at the very last minute.

“Governments are great at pretending to take action on sustainable transport, but this reveals the complete lack of preparedness for the wholesale switch away from fossil fuel cars that we require.”

A transport plan for the COP26 summit, outlining travel options to and within Glasgow, can be viewed on the Transport Scotland website here .


False. There is no evidence the Scottish Government has bought 20 Tesla cars ahead of COP26. Jaguar Land Rover was announced in September as an official transport partner for COP26 and is providing over 200 electric vehicles for use at the summit.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .