Electric avenues: Oxford set to install 100 electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets

The trial, run in partnership between Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, will be the first on-street charging pilot on this scale in the world.

It has been made possible thanks to an £800,000 grant from the OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) Go Ultra Low Cities funding pot. The Government set up the £40m Go Ultra Low Cities scheme as part of its drive to make every new passenger vehicle sold in the UK by 2050 an ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV).

The term ULEV incorporates pure electric, plug-in hybrid and range extended vehicles which produce 75g/km or less of CO2, all of which are plug-in electric vehicles.

Currently, residents who live in Oxford’s terraced streets and do not have driveways will struggle to charge their electric or plug-in vehicles.

This summer, the Councils will invite technology suppliers to come forward with solutions to the on-street charging problem in residential areas of Oxford.

The Councils are looking to trial 30 chargers from at least six different organisations. It is hoped the trials will begin by the end of 2016.

Possible solutions already on the market range from low-tech ‘cable gullies’, which are laid into the pavement to prevent pedestrians from tripping on cables, to high-tech smart lampposts that are capable of charging a vehicle, and communicating with the car and the charging network.

The best solutions will then be rolled out in 100 sites in residential streets across Oxford. This is expected to happen in 2018.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This project will put Oxfordshire at the forefront of innovative low carbon transport solutions and will help stimulate economic growth in the electric vehicle sector.

“A high proportion of properties in Oxford do not have access to off-street parking which makes charging an electric vehicle very challenging and one of the main barriers to city-wide uptake of the technology. Overcoming this issue will therefore make electric vehicle ownership possible for more than 16,000 additional households.

“After an initial pilot project there will be 100 charging points installed across the city, helping to transform people’s quality of life by reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality in our region.

“Securing this funding from the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme is an important step in gaining recognition as one of the most sustainable transport regions in Europe.”

Councillor John Tanner, Executive Board Member for Climate Change, said: “Climate change and poor air quality are two of the biggest issues facing Oxford and we all need to do everything we can to cut vehicle emissions.

“However, for people living in Oxford’s beautiful but narrow terraced streets, charging an electric car is a real problem. This project aims to remove that barrier.

“By installing 100 electric charging points across we are going to turn the Oxford into a city filled with electric avenues.”

The Councils have been strongly supported by BMW Group in their bid to OLEV. BMW and their partners Eluminocity have developed the ‘Light & Charge’ solution – a smart LED street lamp which doubles up as an electric vehicle charging point.

As well as looking for technology suppliers, the Councils are also looking for residents to come forward who would like to be part of the trial. The Councils are particularly looking for people who own electric vehicles and struggle to charge them because they park on-street, or residents who want to own an electric vehicle but think their on-street parking prohibits them from doing so.

Technology suppliers and Oxford residents who would like to be involved in the trial should contact Oxford City Council’s environmental team by emailing airquality@oxford.gov.uk. Please provide your name, address and contact details.

Further information about ultra low emission vehicles, charge point locations, test drive options and purchase incentives is available at www.goultralow.com.