Oxford launches car charging trial of ‘global scientific significance’

Electric vehicle drivers in Oxford will benefit from a joint city and county council scheme to install approximately 100 electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets – using six different charging technologies.

The ‘Go Ultra Low Oxford’ trial could be the largest on-street charging pilot in the country and the University of Oxford has described the project as having ‘global scientific significance’.

Under the scheme, six different charging technologies will be installed – ranging from cable gullies to retrofitting lamp posts with charging stations.

An initial 30 charging stations are set to be ready for residents and the general public to use in October 2017. The trial will last for 12 months.

The best solutions from the trial will then be rolled out in approximately 100 sites across Oxford’s residential streets in 2018.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council Leader, said: ‘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 city and county council secured an £800,000 grant from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for the scheme.

Cllr John Tanner, city council executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said:’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.’

The companies and technologies being trialled in Oxford are:

• Bicester-based company Zeta Specialist Lighting produces extremely slim-line charging posts (130mm wide),useful for Oxford’s narrow footways.

• Ubitricity provide a ‘simple socket’, which can be fitted to lamp columns.

• Evolt provide:

– A smart charging unit which can be attached to lamp columns

– A smart double-charging post, capable of charging two cars in three to four hours

– A home charging system paired with a cable channel which will keep home-charging cables safely tucked into the pavement and allow residents to use their own home energy supply for charging.

• Franklin Energy and Ensto provides a slim-line smart double charging post which can charge two vehicles at the same time while managing the energy demand on the electrical grid.

Researchers from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit (TSU) will collate and analyse residents’ feedback on the charging stations and feed the information back to the Government to inform national and local authority investment.

Dr Tim Schwanen, director of the 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.’

Further information on the Go Ultra Low Oxford project – including the locations of the new chargers – can be found at www.goultralowoxford.org

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