The roll-out of hundreds of electric vehicle (EV) charging points in council-owned car parks in Oxfordshire has been completed. The final EV charging hub in the Park and Charge Oxfordshire project went live this month at Claremont short stay car park in Bicester.
It marks the completion of the 20th hub successfully delivered in the project and means a total of 250 electric vehicle charging points have been delivered across the county since May 2021.
Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment, said: “The reaction from Oxfordshire residents has been overwhelmingly positive, from EV drivers and prospective EV drivers alike.
“Park and Charge is enabling local people who don’t have private off-street parking to have a convenient location to charge their EVs overnight, meaning more Oxfordshire residents have the opportunity to drive electric.
“It’s another great reason to make sure your next vehicle is an EV.”
The hubs have been seeing a promising usage level. Over 3,300 individual electric charging sessions took place across the Park and Charge network in October alone. This is a 23 per cent rise in the number of charging sessions since the previous month. Hopefully, this continues to rise, and with increased charging now available, will help more drivers in the county transition to zero emissions motoring.
The EV chargers have been designed and produced by local Bicester-based company, EZ Charge, who will operate the chargers for the next 10 years. Oxfordshire has the highest uptake of electric vehicles in the country, with 32 per cent of all new vehicles sold in August being fully battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
The 20 Park and Charge locations, each containing between 10 and 16 EV charging points, are:
- Cattle Market and Claremont car parks in Bicester
- Curtis Place car park, Kidlington
- Windsor Street and Calthorpe Street West car parks in Banbury
- Woodford Way car park in Witney
- Black Bourton car park in Carterton
- Hensington Road car park in Woodstock
- Back Lane car park in Eynsham
- New Street car park in Chipping Norton
- Cattlemarket and Goldsmith’s Lane car parks in Wallingford
- Kings Road and Greys Road car parks in Henley
- Southern Road car park in Thame
- West St Helens, Audlett Drive and Cattle Market car parks in Abingdon
- Portway car park in Wantage
- Southampton Road car park in Faringdon.
Councillor Sue Cooper, South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery, said: “We’ve been pleased with the interest in the EV chargers in South Oxfordshire, with one car park in Henley alone having more than 1,000 sessions in its first three months.
“The uptake of charging bays has been higher than expected in some car parks but in others it will take longer as habits change. Having plenty of spaces to charge EVs will help those thinking of buying an EV but do not have a charging point at their property.”
The £5.4 million project was funded by grants from Innovate UK and the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles as well as private investment from local companies Zeta and Urban Integrated. It has provided the biggest ever single boost to public EV charging infrastructure in the county.
Councillor Sally Povolotsky, Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment, said: “We’ve been very pleased to bring EV chargers to the Vale-run car parks as part of our council goals to reduce carbon emissions.
“There has already been a high rate of EV ownership in Oxfordshire which is why we have undertaken this long-term project investing in the infrastructure to make it easier for those to make the switch to an EV whether or not they have access to easy charging at home.
“The scheme has been designed to encourage local residents without off-street parking to switch to an EV as they can park and charge in our car parks overnight. This has already proved popular in Abingdon with nearly 20 per cent of charging sessions at West St Helen car park being done overnight.”
The network of ‘fast’ EV chargers have a power rating of 7kW to 22kW, which means EV drivers can get between 25 and 75 miles of charge for every hour they charge, depending on the rate at which their vehicle can charge.
These innovative chargers are highly robust and reliable and offer multiple payment options including contactless ‘tap and go’ to ensure that EV drivers can always get a charge when they need one.
Councillor Andrew Prosser, Cabinet Member for Climate Change at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Latest statistics suggest that a third of all new cars bought in Oxfordshire are now fully battery electric, which is well ahead of the rest of the UK.
“Projects such as Park and Charge are helping to build countywide EV infrastructure that supports this growth in EV ownership. We want to make it easier for EV drivers to charge up and give motorists the confidence to purchase their first electric vehicle.
“Maximising opportunities to grow this network will accelerate the shift to ultra-low emission transport and our pathway to net zero carbon emissions.”
Councillor Dan Sames, Cherwell District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Cleaner and Greener Communities, said: “The pioneering EV charging project has exceeded expectations and usage continues to grow. We are delighted to have been able to expand the project and create more charging hubs within Cherwell.”
More details on how to use the chargers and the Park and Charge scheme are available at www.parkandchargeoxfordshire.co.uk. The Park and Charge project is a key part of the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, which was named Public Sector Infrastructure Strategy of the Year at the 2022 Electric Vehicle Innovation & Excellence Awards (EVIEs).
Oxfordshire County Council is currently working with all other councils across Oxfordshire to roll out further residential EV charging hubs in car parks right across the county, pending securing appropriate funding.