15 May 2012

Oxford becomes electric vehicle capital of Europe – thanks to Brookes

Electric charge points

Transport Minister, Norman Baker launched a new network of charging points for electric cars throughout Oxfordshire. There are now more electric vehicle charging points in Oxford than petrol stations.

Paul Inman, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, was one of the speakers at the event yesterday (15 May), which took place at Rhodes House in the city centre. He said the launch was 'just the start' of an exciting journey. Paul is chair of the Oxford Electric Vehicle Partnership (OEVP) which brings together the public and private sectors to make the sustainable electric car industry a reality.

The Oxford POLAR network rolled out by Chargemaster will comprise more than 100 charge points by the end of the year and create one of the highest densities of electric vehicle (EV) charging points anywhere in Europe. Leading figures from the technology and automotive industry were at the launch, in addition to about 12 journalists from news organisations such as The Times, The Press Association and Autocar. There were different models of electric cars for attendees to try out.

A Hertz On Demand car club was also announced by the General Manager of Hertz UK, Neil Cunningham. The Hertz electric cars will be available to book 24/7 online for rent by the hour, day and week.

Chargemaster have just installed a new-generation rapid charge unit in Oxford which can fully recharge an electric vehicle in about 30 minutes. Chief Executive, David Martell said: "People won't buy electric cars unless they see charging points around the place."

Eventually there will be about 100 points within a 40-minute drive of Oxford at a higher density than anywhere else in Europe. Oxford Brookes Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre (SVEC) has been heavily involved in supporting the roll-out of charge points. SVEC is leading electric vehicle research in the UK and Europe, and is helping to establish a market for ultra-low carbon vehicles.