Preparing Oxfordshire for the electric vehicle revolution

Oxfordshire will be one of the first places in the UK to put in place a comprehensive strategy to make it easier for motorists to join the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

On Tuesday 16 March 2021, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet adopted the Oxfordshire EV infrastructure strategy (OEVIS) that sets out key actions to allow more drivers to go electric by 2025.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The government has proposed an end to the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and so comprehensive, accessible and efficient infrastructure is essential if we want people to ditch fossil fuels and move towards EVs.

“This strategy has been a truly collaborative piece of work involving our county, city and district councils, and is among the first of its kind in the country. It will put Oxfordshire in a strong position to ensure that anyone wishing to buy an EV will have access to convenient charging facilities – a vital factor for anyone considering switching from petrol or diesel.”

EV sales in Oxfordshire are expected to rise faster than the national average, with Oxford University researchers predicting that by 2025 there could be more than 25,000 EVs on the county’s roads – a figure that could rise to 44,000 by 2027.

Localised measures such as the zero emission zone pilot, starting in parts of Oxford city centre in August 2021, and the fact that between 30 and 40 per cent of households across the county are unable to install their own EV charger as they have no off-road parking, highlight the need for EV charging infrastructure.

As well as helping residents, the OEVIS will also focus on the needs of local businesses and their employees, taxis, logistics operations, car clubs and visitors to Oxford.

One of the aims is to convert at least 7.5 per cent of council-managed car park spaces for EV charging by 2025. Other objectives for this period include:

  • Enabling and delivering public EV charging strategically across Oxfordshire.
  • Adopting a common approach to managing EV charging in council car parks.
  • Enabling residents without access to private off-road parking to access a range of options for EV charging.
  • Encouraging new developments to install high-quality EV charging infrastructure.
  • Setting standards for the quality of public EV charging in Oxfordshire to make sure it is high quality, open, accessible and future-proofed.
  • Working with partners to encourage other landowners to install EV charging infrastructure for businesses, residents and other users.

Encouraging drivers to switch from petrol or diesel to EV will improve local air quality through reduced exhaust emissions and help decarbonise transport, as energy generation progresses from fossil fuels to renewable sources. The strategy also ties in with the declaration of a climate emergency by all of Oxfordshire’s councils, and Oxfordshire County Council’s aim to make the county zero-carbon by 2050.

Having a strategy in place for the county is also expected to lead to continued success when it comes to attracting government funding and private investment for EV charging projects. In the past five years, millions of pounds have come into the county for schemes such as:

  • Go Ultra Low Oxford – On Street Project to look into roadside charging technologies.
  • Go Ultra Low Taxi, exploring rapid EV charging infrastructure for taxis in Oxford City.
  • Park and Charge Oxfordshire, which is setting up EV charging hubs at council car parks around the county.