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Oxford set for electric vehicle charging pilot of ‘global scientific significance’

A partnership between Oxfordshire County and Oxford City councils has begun with a programme to install 100 electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets in Oxford.

A partnership between Oxfordshire County and Oxford City councils has begun with a programme to install 100 electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets in Oxford.

Oxford is set to become home to what is thought to be the largest electric vehicle charging pilot of its kind in the world with a project that will see 100 charging stations deployed on the city’s residential streets.

The initiative stems from an £800,000 grant won by Oxford as part of the £40 million Go Ultra Low Cities scheme and will see six different charging technologies installed. Ranging from slim line charging posts to smart chargers connected to lamp posts that are already being trialled in London, the aim is to find the best solutions for Oxford residents.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council leader, said: “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.”

The first phase of the project will see 30 charging stations installed, with ten available to the general public, a further ten for the social enterprise Co-wheels Car Club, and the remaining for individual households.

The charging stations will be ready for residents and the general public to use in October 2017. The trial will last for 12 months during which time 20 volunteers will provide feedback which will be analysed by researchers from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit (TSU).

“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," said Dr Tim Schwanen, director of the university’s TSU.

The best solutions from the trial will then be rolled out in approximately 100 sites across Oxford’s residential streets next year.

The public chargers will be managed by NewMotion, a Dutch company with almost 50,000 charging locations in 22 countries, while the network will be supplied with renewable electricity from green supplier Good Energy.