Oxford City Council will be installing six new rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers across the city, aiming to support electric Private Hire and Hackney Carriage taxi drivers and local residents.
The installations will be taking place ahead of the introduction of the Zero Emission Zone Pilot this August.
The new electric vehicle charging points are in addition to the two rapid chargers installed in 2019 at Manzil Way Gardens. Overall the project will increase the total number of charging bays for e-taxi drivers in the city to 16 bays.
Over the coming months, the council will be working with EB Charging Ltd (Electric Blue) to install six new rapid chargers and 12 charging bays across the city.
Rapid chargers can fully charge an electric vehicle in well under an hour and are critical for high mileage users like e-taxi drivers.
Once installed, all 16 charging points can deliver close to 800 half-hour charging sessions throughout each day.
Work will start on Monday (28/06) to install the first rapid charging unit on Keble Road, which will provide rapid charging for two parking bays. Over the coming months, more charging points will be installed across the city, with locations to be confirmed.
The charging point locations will ensure that e-taxi drivers are never more than five miles away from a charging solution and will be easily accessible from the major artery roads into the city.
The Government will be banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, which will affect all cars and taxis.
The council is working with e-taxi drivers as part of its Go Ultra Low Oxford (GULO) Taxi project to help drivers transition to ultra-low emission vehicles by 2025 as the city moves towards introducing the Zero Emission Zone this August.
Currently, there are seven electric taxis in Oxford, with uptake expected to increase with the introduction of the Zero Emission Zone Pilot.
The installation work is funded by a £373,000 grant from the Office for Zero Emission vehicles (OZEV), as well as a match funding contribution from the council and EB Charging Ltd.
The work to install the first electric vehicle charging unit on Keble Road will take place from Monday 28 June to Friday 16 July.
The installation work follows a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) consultation, which was carried out in December 2020, and engagement with both Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade representatives on the locations of the charging points.
Installing the new charging points at Keble Road will not impact the amount of blue badge parking on the street, existing bike racks will be moved along the street, and Pay and Display bays will be relocated.
In addition, the grid connection cable routes will be hand dug where necessary to ensure trees are not damaged during the installation process.
All charge points will also feature artwork by local artist Andrew “Mani” Manson.
To help encourage EV uptake across the city as Oxford prepares for the Zero Emission Zone Pilot to launch this August, some bays at the new charging stations will temporarily be open to members of the public, in addition to private hire and Hackney Carriage e-taxi drivers.
One temporary public bay will be provided at Keble Rd, and two at Manzil Way Gardens. Electric Hackney Carriage, electric Private Hire drivers and emergency vehicles will be able to use all available bays.
As the number of electric taxis in the city grows and the city sees the arrival of the Redbridge Park & Ride’s Superhub, the public use of these charging points will be reviewed.
Oxford is one of only a handful of UK cities offering dedicated taxi charging provision to their local trades, allowing them to access the rapid vehicle charging at a lower than average cost.
Under the Zero Emission Zone Pilot, the councils have agreed to emissions requirements for Hackney Carriage vehicles, which will be implemented through the council’s licensing powers.
Under this agreement, Hackney Carriage e-taxis licensed in Oxford will have to phase to zero-emission vehicles, with drivers able to get a licence in 2025 if they have a zero-emission cab.
There will be a 50% discount for petrol-electric hybrid private hire e-taxis, and out of town Licenced Hackney carriage vehicles that:
The different limits are to ensure that the more stringent emissions tests for newer vehicles do not lead to cleaner vehicles being penalised over older, more polluting ones that were tested under a less rigorous system.
As further support for the EV transition of the taxi trade, the new rapid charging points and the current station at Manzil Way will be available to use for the Oxford licensed trades at a cost that is below average market rates. Other users will be able to charge at competitive commercial rates.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “No electric taxi driver will be more than five miles away from fully charging their cab within sixty minutes. A healthy top-up could take just minutes because of these new rapid chargers.
“We’re moving from a 100% diesel taxi fleet to a 100% electric taxi fleet. Taxi drivers will save big sums over their vehicle’s lifetime, and help to protect people by cleaning Oxford’s air and reducing carbon emissions.”
Dan O’Hara, CEO of EB Charging, Said: “We’ve been working closely with Oxford City Council to support their work towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable transport system across the city.
“These new rapid chargers primarily for taxis are a great addition to the existing charger provision and a major step in increasing electric vehicle uptake and use as the city implements its ambitious Zero Emission Zone plans.
“Making some chargers available to the public as well should give more private drivers the confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles too.”