OxPops - whole street electric vehicle charging trial

The OxPops Project

Oxford City Council and our partner, Urban Electric, were awarded funding from Innovate UK to become the first city in the world to trial ‘pop-up’ on-street electric vehicle charging points in residents’ parking bays.

The purpose of the project was threefold. Firstly, as a proof of concept to demonstrate the viability of retractable on-street electric vehicle charging in Oxford. Secondly, to test a ‘whole-street’ approach to EV charging, so as to avoid dedicated 'EV-only' charging bays. And thirdly, as an opportunity to engage with Oxford residents about the future of electric vehicle charging in the city.

As well as installation; funding for the project included the cost of designing a bespoke prototype retractable charger – the charger emerges from the pavement when needed and retracts back into the ground when not in use, helping to limit permanent street furniture. Given Oxford’s abundance of narrow streets and pavements, this approach could prove to be a vital part of the city’s transition to low carbon forms of transport.

Following engagement with Oxford residents, Lonsdale Road was selected as the location for the trial. Six of the prototype retractable chargers were installed on Lonsdale Road in summer 2019 and an electric car club vehicle was made available for the exclusive use of Lonsdale Road residents free of charge for the duration of the trial.

The trial ran for six months from September 2019 to the end of February 2020. Despite some anticipated initial technical teething problems the trial was a success. Resident satisfaction and utilization of both the car club vehicle and the charger units was very high and all project partners learned a great deal about the possibilities of the technology, communications and engagement with residents.

The prototype chargers have now been decommissioned and removed. Lonsdale road has now been included in Oxford City Council’s sister project – Go Ultra Low Oxford which is funded by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles. It is anticipated that second generation chargers will be installed later in the year.

To learn more about OxPops or to request a copy of the full project report, please contact lowcarbonoxford@oxford.gov.uk.