City Council takes delivery of first electric vehicles, providing boost to plans to deliver a world-leading clean energy hub
Oxford's plans to build an Energy Superhub took a step forward today with the City Council taking delivery of the first of 33 electric vehicles (EVs) that will see it switch a quarter of its fleet to zero emissions models.
The EVs represent one pillar in ambitious plans to integrate renewables, green heat, smart grid, and energy storage systems across the city.
Oxford City Council's wholly-owned company, ODS, which operates like a social enterprise, today took delivery of six new EVs, with a further 27 including cars, a street sweeper, an excavator, and mix of different sized vans, now due to be delivered over the next three to four months.
The vehicles have been funded by ESO, a three-year £41m project announced last year which has received £10m from the government's Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge.
The fleet will also be supported by 100 charge points to be installed at council vehicle depots and public locations, including 50 charge points to be deployed at Redbridge Park & Ride.
Meanwhile, a new 'try before you buy' scheme is to be launched for Oxford's Hackney Carriage taxi drivers to encourage them to switch to zero emission capable taxis. The scheme enables drivers to trial one of two models - an all-electric Nissan Dynamo or an LEVC plug-in hybrid - for a two or four-week period. The aim of the trials is to help reduce barriers to adoption ahead of plans to ensure that from 2025 drivers will only be able to get a licence if they have a zero-emission capable cab.
The expanding EV fleet is set to be supported by plans from Pivot Power, the clean energy infrastructure specialist that was recently acquired by energy giant EDF, which will see it connect the world's largest hybrid battery energy storage system and 8km private wire network directly to the city's transmission network.
The project is set to deliver up to 25MW of power across the city to enable mass-scale, electric vehicle (EV) charging, while an EV Superhub at the Park & Ride site will include 20 charge points ranging from rapid to ultra-rapid that are capable of charging a car in 15 to 50 minutes, and 30 fast charge points that can charge a car over a period of hours.
"Pivot Power's purpose is to accelerate the UK's transition to a clean, electric future," said Tim Rose, ESO Programme Manager at Pivot Power. "The smart power network we are installing in Oxford will deliver flexible, reliable power at scale to fast-track EV adoption. As part of EDF Renewables UK, our aim is to replicate this model throughout the UK, supporting greater renewable generation and delivering power where and when it is needed to enable mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle charging."
The latest milestone for the project was welcomed by Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford on Oxford City Council, who said the city was "continuing to show leadership in tackling the climate emergency".
"With this project we're encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and move to zero carbon," he said. "Energy Superhub Oxford gives Oxford strengths that no other city currently has: the world's most powerful charging network and the world's largest ever hybrid battery, and as a result we can accelerate our electric vehicle charging infrastructure for businesses and residents. It also allows the City Council to provide support on top of what we're already offering to Hackney Carriage taxi drivers looking to move to electric. I am looking forward to seeing this project accelerate Oxford towards zero."
Separately, work is also set to commence soon on a project from Kensa Contracting, which would see ground source heat pumps with smart controls and a time of use tariff installed at 60 affordable housing properties. ESO then aims to roll out low carbon heating technology to 300 properties in and around Oxford over the next two years.
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