A major project to install 100 electric vehicle charge points in Oxford’s residential streets is underway, under a joint project between Oxford city and Oxfordshire county councils.
The trial has been described as the “first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world”, and will have “global scientific significance” according to the University of Oxford.
It will see six different charging technologies installed – ranging from cable gullies to retrofitting lamp posts with charging stations – with the aim of finding the best solutions for residents.
The first phase of the project will see 30 charging stations installed. Ten of these will be available for the general public, ten for vehicles registered to the Co-wheels Car Club scheme, and the remaining for individual households.
Installation of the charging stations will begin this month and they will be ready for residents and the general public to use in October 2017. The trial will last for 12 months.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council Leader, said: “We are committed to working with partners to facilitate the transition to a low emission fleet in Oxford and Oxfordshire. This is a great project and a great example of using Oxford as a ‘living lab’ to get new ideas on the ground fast to benefit residents.
“The pilot element of the project is a learning experience – identifying the best charging solutions for different situations and locations and using our assets in better, smarter ways will help minimise costs. We hope to take what we have learnt from this project and look at how we can support on street charging across the whole of Oxfordshire.”
Dr Tim Schwanen, Director of University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit, said: “The project has global scientific significance because we know surprisingly little about how electric vehicle users and local communities adapt to new charging infrastructure, especially if this is provided on residential streets where availability of a parking space is not guaranteed.”
Following on from the trial, charge points will be rolled out permanently at 100 sites across Oxford’s residential streets. This is expected to happen in 2018.
The network of public chargers will be managed by the Dutch company NewMotion. People wishing to use the public chargers can apply to NewMotion for a free charge card and download the NewMotion app for real-time information on where chargers are available.
Co-wheels Car Club plans to introduce ten new electric cars in Oxford from this autumn, and will use the new charging points to power them. Alongside the project volunteers, Co-Wheels Car Club will also collect feedback on the chargers.
The project, called Go Ultra Low Oxford (GULO), has been part funded through an £800,000 grant from the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
According to the councils, the aim of Go Ultra Low Oxford is to reduce air pollution in the city and further lower the city’s carbon emissions by giving more people the option of driving and owning electric vehicles.
Councillor John Tanner, city council executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: “I’m thrilled that Oxford city council is leading the delivery of the Go Ultra Low Oxford Project with Oxfordshire county council.
“This government-funded project is tackling a real issue for many Oxford residents who would like to drive electric, but can’t have a charger at home because they have no driveway.
“By 2027 more people could be buying electric cars than petrol or diesel, and our project will help us prepare for this future.”