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New electric car charging network for Oxford
Oxford is about to become the most electric car friendly city in Europe, thanks to a new POLAR charging network that launches today.
The new scheme is one of a number of POLAR networks being installed around the UK by Chargemaster Plc, and will initially see 64 charging stations go live in Oxford and the surrounding area.
This will give Oxford a ratio of roughly one charger to every 2,500 residents – a density that is estimated to be the very best in Europe, ahead of Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, London and Cardiff.
Each of the 64 charging sites are said to be double the speed of standard chargers, and are suitable for any electric vehicle equipped with the right connectors.
The next 12 months will see the Oxford network expanded still further, with more than 50 additional units planned for the city and surrounding area. This will include a number of rapid chargers, said to be capable of reducing charging times to as little as 20 minutes.
Looking further afield, another 100 charging stations are set to be located within 40 minutes of the city. These will allow Oxford-based electric car drivers to comfortably visit places such as the Silverstone race circuit, Cheltenham and Warwick race courses, and shopping centres like Milton Keynes and Bicester village.
At the same time, a new memorandum of understanding between Chargemaster Plc and Hertz On Demand promises the launch of a new Oxford electric car club. This plans to introduce a fleet of 10 Nissan Leafs, available for use around the clock by city residents.
These would be rented out for periods of an hour, day or week, and located in key areas around the city – including university campuses, special street bays, local car parks and at major employers.
Chargemaster’s POLAR network is scheduled to reach over 100 towns and cities in the UK by the end of the year, and the company is already present in more than 25. Most of these are located in the South Coast region, but moving further up the country as the network grows.
Whether these extra stations will be enough to see the end to electric vehicle “range anxiety” remains to be seen. But with electric running costs estimated at just 15 per cent of a convention petrol or diesel engine, an increasing number of buyers are likely to see the appeal.
Choice in the electric vehicle market is also set for a big boost over the next 18 months, with no less than 29 new electric cars and light vans expected to go on sale in the UK. BMW, Volvo, Nissan, Renault, Ford and Vauxhall are all amongst those with new models heading our way.
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