Oxford trials world’s first residential ‘pop-up’ on-street electric vehicle charging points

Published: Friday, 8th November 2019

The world’s first residential ‘pop up’ on-street electric vehicle charging points is being trialled in Oxford.  

The ‘OxPops’ trial, comprises six ‘UEone’ retractable (‘pop up’) pavement bollards installed on north eastern end of Lonsdale Road in North Oxford.

The trial - which has been taking place from September until December 2019 - aims to provide electric vehicle charging capability to residents who live on a terraced street with on-road, off-pavement parking, and aims to resolve the struggle residents on these streets may have to charge their electric vehicles.

The pop-up charging points allow residents who are involved in the trial to charge their electric vehicles for free at any of the six charging points on the street. The charging points are app-operated and retract underground when not in use in order to reduce street clutter.

The installation of the pop-up charging hub aims to not impact on residents’ ability to park on Lonsdale Road, nor will it impact current parking permits.

The trial aims to remove the requirement for exclusive electric vehicle spaces, with both electric and non-electric vehicles able to use the spaces. However, use of the pop up charging points is limited to trial participants who live on Lonsdale Road.

Project background

Last year, Oxford was awarded £473,595 from OLEV which was administered by Innovate UK to trial the technology. The successful bid was made in partnership between Duku, Urban Electric and Oxford City Council.

Following the successful bid, residents were encouraged to nominate their street to take part in the trial. Lonsdale Road was selected following its nomination by local residents. The location of the chargers on the north-eastern side of the road was decided following resident feedback, street layout surveys, and electric network surveys.

The installation of the charging points was carried out by Oxford Direct Services, which is helping Oxford to deliver its Zero Emission Zone.

The City Council is also working with Co-Wheels Car Club as part of the trial to provide electric BMW i3 for residents involved in the trial to use free of charge to allow wider participation in the trial.

Go Ultra Low

The ‘OxPops’ project will support the existing Go Ultra Low Oxford on-street residential charging project.

The Go Ultra Low project is a trial by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, aiming to reduce air pollution and further lower Oxford’s carbon emissions. The scheme has seen 100 electric vehicle charging points installed in residential streets across Oxford. It is thought to be the first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world.

“Air pollution cuts short lives and people’s quality of life. Everything we do to tackle emissions has to be practical and that means supporting drivers to replace older polluting vehicles with cleaner ones. We’ve brought investment into Oxford to test different electric vehicle charging technologies and ensure residents get the best public infrastructure. By trialling the world’s first pop-up on-street chargers, Oxford is freeing our streets of clutter for residents travelling by mobility vehicles or pushing children along in buggies. We’re also ensuring that more people can own or drive EVs, especially those who want to switch but just don’t have driveways for off-street charging. The electric revolution should be open to all, whether they have driveways or not.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford

"We are delighted to have contributed to this pioneering project as the principal contractor. To install the world's first pop up chargers in Oxford, we involved our electrical department who designed, installed and commissioned the electrical installation; and our highways department who prepared the infrastructure to welcome the chargers.

“Our teams are very proud to have seen this project into fruition, together with partners Urban Electric Networks Ltd, Duku Design and VolkerHighways Ltd, and thanks to Oxford City Council. It is our company’s work ethos to be intentional about innovation and doing good in our part of the world, so we are looking forward to being part of more world-changing initiatives like this one.”

Shaun Hatton, Oxford Direct Services’ Director of Operations

“Up to half of all the vehicles in our cities are parked on-street at night. Enabling residents to charge outside their home with certainty and convenience, and with the benefit of a full charge in the morning, is critical to accelerate EV adoption for residents without off-street parking. Doing so using pop-up charge points overcomes the problem of street clutter and preserves the aesthetics of the urban streetscape.”

Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson, Managing Director of Urban Electric

“Getting to work on a project which is a real game changer for the EV sector and a true innovation is rare and very exciting. The challenges in creating a new design that is ready to be trialled in a real world situation add a lot of pressure. However it also gets the best out of the design process as decisions have to be made quickly and effectively. The end result is one we’re very proud of and seeing them in action is hugely rewarding. We have no doubt Urban Electric have addressed a serious obstacle with the widespread adoption of EV vehicles with this project. Having both Oxford City Council and Innovate UK backing the project has given it the opportunity it deserves.”

Andrew Aylesbury, Director of Duku

“Co-wheels is always looking to increase the number of electric cars on our fleet, and innovative new charging systems such as these will allow us to reach more residential areas. Oxford has a thriving car club already, and we are pleased to continue our work with the Council and Urban Electric to expand our service as part of this project.”

Richard Falconer, Managing Director of Co-wheels