Upgrades to Go Ultra Low Oxford electric vehicle chargers opens up technology for public use

Published: Wednesday, 27th January 2021

Upgrades have been made to the on-street electric vehicle chargers in the Go Ultra Low Oxford project, which will give members of the public the ability to use the chargers for the first time.

The upgrades will also see an improvement in performance and access for trial participants.

The upgrades will build on the learning from phase one to ensure that chargers are more reliable and utilise the latest technology.

The upgrades follow feedback from participants on phase one of the trial, and growing interest in residents and car clubs wanting to trial electric vehicle charging technology.

Go Ultra Low Oxford - which is described by the University of Oxford as having “global scientific significance”, - has trialled five different charging technologies for 24 residents across Oxford.

The first phase of the project, which took place from July 2017 - June 2019, saw 46 charge-points installed across 28 locations, and the use of 10 electric Co-Wheels car club vehicles.

The project has been made possible after the City Council secured an £800,000 grant from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with the County Council.

The project, thought to be the first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world, aims to encourage residents to adopt electric vehicles through providing the option of driving and owning electric vehicles.

A map of charging point locations in Oxford can be found here.

Charging infrastructure upgrades

Following the completion of the upgrades, trial participants are now able to use their current membership to access additional charger locations, and members of the public are now able to use the lamppost charging points around the city utilising the Pay and You Go function.  

Lamppost chargers

Phase one of the trial saw 29 lampposts across Oxford retrofitted with EV charging points in 11 streets.

The Council has been working with Ubitricity to upgrade 20 lamppost charging points to include two payment options, one for trial participants, and another for payment option for members of the public.

Members of the public who own an electric vehicle are now able to access lamppost chargers on a Pay As You Go option at a cost of 24p/kWh.

This offers contactless payment via a smart phone. To start a charging session, drivers scan the QR code with a smart phone and follow the instructions to enter their credit or debit card details.  There is no need to download an app or carry an extra card, and drivers can charge their vehicle using their regular charging cable. Drivers can opt to receive a receipt by entering their email address.

Trial participants will be able to continue to use their existing smart cables to connect to the lamp post chargers, as well as their usual on-street charger and charge their vehicles at a member rate.

Bollard chargers

Oxford has thirteen bollard chargers across the city which are used by both trial participants and car club members involved in the trial.

Working with the Chargepoint suppliers and the Chargepoint operator New Motion, nine chargers have already been repaired and upgraded.

Members of the public are now able to access these chargers at a rate of 25p kWh by requesting an RFID card from NewMotion. Local parking restrictions, such as residential parking permit requirements, continue to apply.

Trial participants are able to continue to use the chargers at their member rates until March 2021, at which point the rate is expected to increase to 25p kWh.

A further five chargers at four locations will be replaced in the coming months. These replacement chargers are to be installed in Southfield Rd, Stone Street, West Street and Wytham Street.

Supporting the Zero Emission Zone

Oxford City Council, and Oxfordshire County Council are planning to introduce the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), which will begin with the ZEZ Pilot in August 2021. The ZEZ is being introduced to ensure Oxford’s residents and visitors can breathe air as clean as possible and reduce the impact of air pollution on the health of all those who live, work, and visit Oxford.

It is estimated that around 28% of households in Oxford (over 41,000 people) live in terraced houses. Many of these houses don’t have a driveway or garage so people who live there have to park their car on the street.

Go Ultra Low Oxford aims to promote electric vehicle charging solutions for Oxford residents who are considering buying an electric vehicle but do not have off-street parking.

Last month the Government announced that the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, with Britain moving closer towards adopting electric vehicles on a wider scale.

In Oxford there are around 108 charging points available public to use. The City Council is responsible for nearly a third of the available chargers in the city.

Take part in the project

The next phase of the project will see further chargers installed across the city for residents without off-street parking.

Residents who would like their street to be considered for an electric charging point in phase two of the project can express their interest via the demand tracker. 

“We want electric vehicles to be accessible to more than just the early adopters and tech savvy, so I’m delighted that these latest upgrades will enable the wider public to access on-street Go Ultra Low Oxford chargers

“One of the main challenges we face in Oxford is space for on-street chargers and the Council is creating solutions for residents without off-road parking who are therefore unable to install their own charger. The GO Ultra Low Oxford trial aims to test on-street charging solutions that are suitable for the specific circumstances here in Oxford.

“During the first phase of the GULO project, the City Council, alongside our project partners, have learned a lot from this project in terms of usage, performance and access of charging points. We would like to thank our trial participants for their support throughout the project and for helping to develop a citywide response which is tailored for our specific needs.”
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford