Oxfordshire awarded £3.6 million to triple public electric vehicle charging provision by 2025

Oxfordshire will receive £3.6 million to triple its number of public electric vehicle (EV) chargers after the county’s Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) bid was approved.

Money from the Department for Transport will seed fund a major rollout of infrastructure worth over £10m that will see more than 1,300 public chargers delivered in the county by the end of 2025. The rest of the funding will largely come in the form of investment from the EV chargepoint operators themselves.

Oxfordshire County Council led the application in close collaboration with Oxford City Council and Cherwell, West Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils.

The programme aims to create a reliable, easy-to-use, contactless EV charging network spanning the county. This will give more people the opportunity to switch to an EV – regardless of where they live or their parking situation – to improve Oxfordshire’s environment and air quality.

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council with responsibility for Climate Change, Environment, and Future Generations said: “This funding will provide a huge boost to Oxfordshire’s growing EV charging network and build on our leadership in this field, removing one of the blocks to EV ownership. One of our top aims is to get reliable, contactless public EV charging into rural and deprived areas, ensuring that nobody will be left behind in the transition to driving electric.”

The programme, known as OXLEVI, will be the largest deployment of public EV charging infrastructure ever seen in Oxfordshire and will treble the amount of public chargers currently available.

The focus will be on standard 7kW chargers that residents without home chargers can use overnight at discounted rates. The new EV chargers network will also provide much needed top-up charging for residents, visitors, commuters and working drivers during the daytime.

The scheme is expected to include the installation of rapid chargers and charging bays suitable for van drivers, disabled drivers and EV car clubs. Most of the new EV chargers will be installed in off-street parking locations such as council car parks, building on the success of the Park and Charge project, which installed 250 EV charging points across council car parks in Oxfordshire between 2021 – 2022.

In line with national policy change, the LEVI funding will see Oxfordshire County Council take on the responsibility to deploy EV Infrastructure on the highway, including delivery of phase two of the Go Ultra Low Oxford project (GULO), which will see a minimum of 100 GULO chargers delivered in Oxford alongside the LEVI chargers.

The county council is also looking to launch a grant scheme to enable parish councils and associations to create community EV charging microhubs by installing EV chargers at village halls and community centres.

Some EV chargers will also be installed on the highway in areas where insufficient suitable off-street car parking is available.

Councillor Anna Railton, Oxford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Climate Justice, said: “This funding will help ensure that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is consistent across both Oxford city and county by aligning it under one countywide approach, while securing the principles set out in the Oxford EV Infrastructure Strategy – with access as equitable, convenient and easy as possible for residents. We are looking forward to collaborating with the county council with their rollout within the city to help meet Oxford’s electric vehicle charging needs.”

Councillor Freddie Van Mierlo, South Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Nature Recovery, said: “This investment will complement and expand capacity already delivered by South Oxfordshire District Council in its car parks, which is proving popular, especially in Henley.

“Market towns and rural areas can often lack suitable off-street parking, putting off EV ownership. I’m pleased this scheme is focusing on filling these gaps to better support residents wanting to switch to EVs, as well as supporting parish and town councils.”

Councillor Bethia Thomas, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Action, said: “EV ownership is growing in the Vale, recent grants through our Climate Action Fund have gone to EV projects such as charging points in Blewbury and an EV car club in Harwell. For EV use to grow even further, the number of chargers has to increase in readiness, and we should do all we can to facilitate this.”

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Cleaner and Greener Communities, said: “Supporting environmental sustainability is a key priority to Cherwell District Council and this funding will enable us to improve and expand access to electric vehicle charging across the district.

“Electric vehicles are rising in popularity as more people look to play their part in addressing the challenge of climate change. There’s already a great level of take-up for electric vehicles in north Oxfordshire and I hope that those considering one will be encouraged to do so by our expansion of charging infrastructure and provisions.”

Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “This latest funding announcement is great news. Boosting the number of publicly available electric chargers and investing in a wider network of charge points is pivotal to helping people transition to electric, while giving those who’ve already made the move more opportunities to charge at a time and place convenient to them.”

Anthony Browne, Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, said: “This Government has a plan to help speed up the installation of EV chargepoints, which we’re getting on and delivering. This dedicated funding to local councils is part of our plan to ensure people can switch from a petrol or diesel car to an EV when they choose to do so.”

Oxfordshire’s councils will shortly be tendering for suppliers to deliver and operate the new public EV charging network and will announce more details of site locations following full feasibility studies later this year.

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