An electric car-sharing pilot scheme has been launched in Oxfordshire this month, with 14 new electric vehicles (EVs) available for people to hire on an hourly or daily basis.
This is a great idea that I know many would use. Hopefully, the pilot, which will last a year, will become permanent and go on to offer more cars for potential users. Plus, it’s a great way for people to try an electric vehicle and I’m sure they will soon be converted to zero emission motoring.
Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire district councils have partnered with car club providers Co Wheels, Enterprise CarClub and Thame EV Car Hire to offer pay-per-use electric vehicles on a 12-month trial basis.
The scheme offers people the chance to access an electric vehicle when they need one, without the expense of owning or leasing one outright. Car clubs can make it much more affordable for people, especially for those who don’t drive every day and provide a real-world experience of driving electric without a long-term commitment.
Jenny Figueiredo, Oxfordshire County Council’s EV Charging Project Manager, said: “Introducing EV car clubs right across the county is a key step in cutting our carbon emissions, as well as reducing the amount of individual vehicles on our roads and helping people to reduce the cost of living.
“Providing pay-per-use car sharing schemes like this makes it possible for people to consider giving up their own cars or second cars, and also to be more conscious of making an active decision about every journey they make.”
Most of the vehicles, which can be hired by the hour or by the day, are brand new fully battery electric vehicles with a range of between 150 – 250 miles each. They will largely be based at the recently installed Park and Charge EV charging hubs in district council-owned car parks across the county.
Car club membership is required in order to use new vehicles. Residents living near the new EV car club locations should look out for promotional codes giving them free or discounted membership as an incentive to try the scheme for themselves. Members can then hire car club vehicles in the scheme from as little as £5.95 per hour, including insurance, plus 12p per mile.
There will also be a new EV car club vehicle at the Energy SuperHub at Redbridge Park and Ride in Oxford for the same trial period.
The electric vehicle car club vehicles are based in the following locations:
- Cattle Market car park, Bicester (Enterprise CarClub)
- Claremont car park, Bicester (Enterprise CarClub)
- Calthorpe Street West car park, Banbury (Co Wheels)
- Windsor Street car park, Banbury (Co Wheels)
- Curtis Place car park, Kidlington (Enterprise CarClub)
- Woodford Way car park, Witney (Co Wheels)
- Back Lane car park, Eynsham (Co Wheels)
- Southern Road car park, Thame (Thame EV Car Hire)
- Greys Road car park, Henley (Co Wheels)
- Cattlemarket car park, Wallingford (Co Wheels)
- West St Helens car park, Abingdon (Co Wheels)
- Cattle Market car park, Abingdon (Co Wheels)
- Portway car park, Wantage (Co Wheels)
- Energy Superhub, Redbridge Park and Ride, Oxford (Co Wheels).
Richard Falconer, Co Wheels Car Club director, said: “We have seen growing demand for shared vehicles – especially electric cars – in Oxford city as people realise that owning a car can damage your wallet as well as the environment.
“We think it is the ideal time to make zero emission cars available across the county as it has such a high level of residents who want to travel more sustainably. Oxfordshire is at the cutting edge of how we will use cars in future and is setting an example that other parts of the country will follow.”
It is estimated that a successful car club vehicle can take on average 20 individually owned cars, often petrol or diesel vehicles, off the road. Following on from the success that Oxford has seen with its growing network of car club vehicles around the city, the countywide pilot will assess demand for shared electric vehicles and car club models across Oxfordshire.
Daniel Gursel, Enterprise CarClub director, said: “We are delighted to work with Oxfordshire County Council to launch this service. Car club is a great option to meet changing travel patterns for both residents and visitors to the area as well as helping reduce private car ownership and give people the opportunity to drive an EV.
“Enterprise CarClub members have access to our complete network of around 1,500 vehicles in more than 220 towns, cities and communities across the UK. This means they can enjoy the convenience of shared mobility not only in Oxfordshire but also when travelling elsewhere in the country.”
Ross Batting, Thame EV Car Hire director, said: “The residents of Thame are embracing the green revolution and we firmly believe a community EV car club scheme can be a major part of this.
“The future of mobility looks very different from the traditional car ownership model, and we are proud to be able to play a part in a greener, more sustainable future for the wonderful town of Thame and beyond.”
The EV car club pilot will be initially for 12 months to assess the demand for this type of service across Oxfordshire. The pilot project aims to inform longer-term plans for potential EV car club rollout across the county.