THE first wave of new electric vehicle charging points across Oxford have been approved by transport bosses, with the first set to arrive within months.

David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member of Oxfordshire County Council, hailed the technology as ‘the future’ and said he expected many more to be built over the next few years.

Yesterday he signed off the creation of 15 parking bays that will be reserved for drivers charging electric vehicles in the city.

It is part of a trial that officials hope will lead to a further 100 electric vehicle charging points being rolled out across Oxford, in what is thought to be the largest scheme of its kind in the world.

Mr Nimmo Smith said: “It’s a very exciting step – this technology is the future.

“What we have tried to do is locate these charging points in places where people who do not have access to off-street parking can use them. That’s very important because in Oxford there is a lot of terraced housing.

“But this is just the beginning – this is the direction of travel and I expect many more of these charging points to be rolled out in the coming years.”

The £800,000 project has been organised jointly with Oxford City Council, which helped to bid for funding from the Government.

After yesterday’s decision, city council environment boss John Tanner said he expected the trial charging points to be put in place during the summer.

If the trial was successful, more would follow in 2018, he said.

The charging bays would go in:

- North Oxford – Bainton Road, Farndon Road, Winchester Road

- Cutteslowe – Hawksmoor Road

- West Oxford – Henry Road

- Osney – West Street

- Grandpont – Kineton Road

- South Oxford – Lake Street

- Littlemore – Vicarage Close

- East Oxford – Bedford Street, Stockmore Street, Southfield Road

- Temple Cowley: Hendred Street

Mr Tanner added: “It’s great to see this scheme moving forward and this is also a good example of the city and county councils working together.

“This experiment will hopefully make driving electric vehicles in Oxford easier and I hope we can move to a full rollout of the scheme as soon as possible.

“Doing that in 2018 is still very much the ambition but it will depend on the trial’s outcome.”

The trial will involve installing different kinds of charging points, with the most successful ones taken forward to a bigger scheme.

Businesses have been asked to put forward proposals for these and it is understood the city and county councils are likely to announce which ones have been chosen in the coming months.

Possible solutions already on the market include low-tech ‘cable gullies’ laid into the pavement and high-tech ‘smart lampposts’ capable of charging a vehicle.

The authorities hope the Oxford scheme will encourage more people to buy electric cars to help cut carbon emissions in the city, with 16,000 homes set to benefit from the 100 charging points proposed.

Andy Edwards, of eco company Bioregional, worked with car club Co-wheels to get an electric car based at Rose Hill. He said: “Electric vehicles are an essential part of the transition to a low-carbon, cheaper energy economy.

"Without them it would be very hard to achieve the kind of reductions in fossil fuels we are aiming for.”