A 'GLOBALLY significant' project installing electric car charging points in lampposts, bollards and homes across Oxford has published its first key findings.

The Go Ultra Low Oxford scheme saw 46 charge points installed at 28 residential sites and the use of 10 electric cars from Oxford's Co-Wheels car club.

As well as 29 lampposts in 11 streets, three types of bollard chargers were included at four sites, five households were provided with a home charger, and the car club deployed ten electric vehicles across Oxford, each with an allocated parking bay close to a charger.

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A total of 18 residents took part in the pilot from July 2017 to June 2019.

It is thought to be the first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world.

Oxford Mail:

County councillors John Tanner (left) and Ian Hudspeth with a charge point. Picture: Ed Nix

Resident feedback on the charging stations was collated and analysed by the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit.

Now the unit has published its initial findings – evaluating the first phase of the project, and informing planning for the future.

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Key findings from the report include:

• Charging habits varied widely between users, with some regularly charging overnight, and others plugging in during the day or more often on weekends. These factors varied according to how people used their cars.

• Participants’ charging practices changed over time, as they became familiar with the equipment.

• However, when asked whether they had a preference for any of the charger types, two-thirds of respondents chose the technology that they had been allocated – expressing a preference for that above the other four that were trialled.

Oxford Mail:

• The technical and operational maintenance of the diverse charge point network was 'challenging' - all chargers experienced some malfunctions or breakdowns during the trial - these will be addressed further during phase two.

• There can be no ‘one size fits all’ solution for on-street charging – many factors influence which charging technology suits a street.

Dr Tim Schwanen, director of the Transport Studies Unit, said he expected the insights from the first report to be 'very helpful' to local authorities around the UK as they roll-out electric vehicle charging infrastructure in coming years.

He added: "The first phase of Go Ultra Low Oxford has yielded a wealth of insights into how on-street chargers can be operated in efficient and user-friendly ways."

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The project was made possible after Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council secured an £800,000 grant from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

The county council's electric vehicles team leader Paul Gambrell said his authority planned to deploy up to 300 charge points across the county in the next 18 months.