Book a test drive and join the electric vehicle revolution

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Three test drive events are taking place in Oxfordshire next month to showcase electric vehicles (EVs) and an innovative new way of charging them aimed at people without off-street parking.

Oxfordshire’s park and charge team will be running live roadshow events in Abingdon, Witney and Henley in August. These free events will be an opportunity for residents to learn more about EVs and the different options for making the switch.

The test drive events will take place 10am - 4pm on:

  • Saturday 14 August at Cattle Market car park, Abingdon
  • Friday 20 August Kings Road car park, Henley
  • Saturday 21 August at the Woolgate Centre, Witney.

The test drives form part of Oxfordshire’s £5.2 million park and charge project that has been awarded funding from Innovate UK as part of the government’s investment in British engineering to transform electric charging infrastructure. The project is being delivered by Oxfordshire County Council, with support from Cherwell District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, the Vale of the White Horse District Council, Zeta Specialist Lighting, Urban Integrated UK and the University of Oxford.

Event organisers are working alongside local dealerships Go Green Autos, North Oxford MINI and Jaybee Motors. To book a test drive, residents can visit parkandchargeoxfordshire.co.uk choose their preferred day and venue and fill out a quick form. A member of the park and charge team will confirm all bookings.

Councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: Come and test drive an electric vehicle. We are in the twilight of petrol and diesel cars, as we must move to zero carbon transport in the next few years for the sake of our health and the planet.

“Our new park and charge hubs will be appearing in towns and villages across the county to be a safe place for overnight charging, particularly for those who don’t have off-street parking and can’t easily charge their vehicles at home. Be part of the future and come along for what promises to be a fun and informative experience.”

As well as test driving an EV, attendees will be able to chat to local experts and members of the park and charge team to find out more about driving electric and about the EV charging hubs that are coming to Oxfordshire later this year. 

Park and charge hubs can be found within 22 county and district council owned car parks around the county, offering overnight charging bays for residents to use. The first one opened in Bicester in May, enabling drivers to park for free overnight and charge up using one of the 12 new EV charging points, which also provide much needed battery top-ups to commuters and visitors during the daytime.

Councillor David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Climate Change at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Over a third of West Oxfordshire’s CO2 emissions can be attributed to transport, which is hugely significant when looking at how we can go about reducing the district’s carbon footprint. Creating a network of EV charging points across the county encourages people and businesses to make their next car purchase electric, confident in the knowledge that they will be able to charge their vehicle at a time and place convenient to them. This is a vital step in how we bring about change.”

Councillor Catherine Webber, Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment, said: One of the ways the council aims to achieve the district-wide target of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 is by working closely with partners wherever possible. This is why the council is working with Oxfordshire County Council to build on our commitment to active travel. It is also partnering with Oxfordshire councils on the Oxfordshire electric vehicle infrastructure strategy and the park and charge project.

“We are delighted that we can host a park and charge event at the council’s Cattle Market car park in Abingdon so people will have a chance to test drive some electric vehicles and find out more about this exciting project.”

Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Nature Recovery, said: “The council is a partner in several innovative energy projects across the county, including the Oxfordshire energy strategy and local energy Oxfordshire project in addition to the park and charge scheme. This is just one of many ways we as a council are aiming to achieve our target of becoming a carbon neutral district by 2030.

“We are very pleased that we are able to use the council’s Kings Road car park in Henley to showcase the park and charge project and, if possible, we'd like people to walk or cycle to the event.

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