Oxford has begun a programme to install about 100 electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets to help people go electric.
The trial, thought to be the first of its size in the world, was described by the University of Oxford as having “global scientific significance”.
At present, residents of Oxford’s narrow terraced streets struggle to charge electric vehicles without off-street parking. The trial will involve installing six different charging technologies – ranging from cable gullies to retrofitting lamp posts with charging stations – to find the best solutions.
Thirty charging stations will be installed in the first phase of the project, ten for the general public, ten for members of the city’s Co-wheels Car Club and the rest for individual households.
Installation has already begun and the charging stations are expected to be ready for use in October. The trial will last for 12 months after which the best solutions will be rolled out in approximately 100 sites across the city. This is expected to happen in 2018.
Feedback on the charging stations will be analysed by researchers from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit and the results passed to the government. The findings will also be shared with the global research community through publications in peer-reviewed academic journals.
The network of public chargers will be managed by the Dutch company NewMotion and powered by Good Energy from its network of solar, hydro, wind and biofuel generators.
The project, called Go Ultra Low Oxford, was made possible after Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council secured an £800,000 grant from the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
John Tanner, of Oxford city council, 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.”
Tim Schwanen, director of the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit, added: “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.”