Frequently Asked Questions about the Park and Charge Oxfordshire scheme
The project will install up to 280 individual charging points (140 double charging units) across 24 car parks across the county. This will comprise six car parks in each of the four districts hosting the Park and Charge scheme: Cherwell, West Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse. Most car parks will have 12 electric vehicle charging points/bays (ie 6 double chargers in each).
There are several innovative elements to the Park and Charge chargers–they will be bookable overnight to guarantee certainty to the user; they can charge at different rates at different times of the day, depending on availability of electricity from the grid; and they will be self-checking and modular which will mean faults can be fixed a lot quicker and the chargers will have a much higher ‘uptime’ than many current models; they are designed for user-friendliness and will have a large LCD screen to guide people through how to use them. In addition to this, the scheme itself is innovative in the way it is using car park-based electric vehicle charging hubs as a way of solving the problem of residential charging where off-street parking is not available.
As the primary aim of the project is to provide overnight charging hubs for residents without off-street parking, the sites have been prioritised in areas where there are large numbers of residents without off-street parking within a 5-minute walk. There are also lots of other criteria that have been taking into consideration in making decisions about location, such as the electricity network connection available, the size of the local population and level of car ownership, and the vehicle crime levels in the area. In addition, the main cost of charge point installation is the cabling and groundworks, so the overall installation costs become significantly lower the more chargers are installed in one place – this means we were not able to include any sites in this pilot project where any less than 6 double chargers are appropriate (i.e. we couldn’t put 1 charger in a small village car park within the scope of this particular project). Please note that Park and Charge is an externally-funded pilot project with a set budget to test whether this kind of provision is effective – it does not mean other car parks will not have an opportunity to install charging infrastructure in the future as electric vehicle ownership continues to increase.
There is an urgent need to vastly increase the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Oxfordshire to meet the ever-growing demand for electric vehicles in our population. Whilst there are currently a relatively small number of electric vehicles on Oxfordshire’s roads, sales of electric vehicles are in reality significantly higher in Oxfordshire than the UK average. The rate of electric vehicle adoption in Oxfordshire is set to grow very rapidly, and we anticipate seeing over 25,000 Battery Electric Vehicles on Oxfordshire’s roads by 2025. One of the main barriers currently preventing people moving to electric vehicles is a perception of a lack of electric vehicle infrastructure, so having very visible electric vehicle infrastructure in an area gives confidence and a strong encouragement to make the switch to electric vehicles. Whilst the South East has the highest rate of electric vehicle ownership in the UK outside of London, the region currently has one of the lowest quantities of electric vehicle chargers per number of electric vehicle users in the UK.
The bays that have electric vehicle chargers will be newly designated as ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Only’ bays, and so will only be permitted for that specific use (rather like Disabled Bays are only for blue badge holders). However, the swift transition to electric vehicles will mean there will soon be simply less petrol and diesel vehicles on the roads, so the competition for non-electric vehicle parking spaces should not be significantly increased (certainly in the longer term).
Each charger will be a double unit, which will essentially provide two electric vehicle ‘charge points’, i.e. two electric vehicle charging bays in a car park. The large LCD screen on the front will give instructions on how to use the charger and show e.g. tariff information, whilst the coloured lights on the side will show car park users the status of each charger (e.g. charging, pre-booked, available, out of use etc.).
Anyone will be able to use the chargers – they will be suitable for charging all makes of electric vehicle. They are particularly intended to suit the needs of residents without off-street parking (who therefore cannot charge at home), but they will be available to anyone at any time such as visitors, commuters, taxis, fleet vehicles and other local people. Each charger will be fitted with a Type 2 connector lead.
Whilst users will be encouraged to join up to the EZ-Charge subscription scheme, which will provide additional benefits to users, subscription will not be a requirement for using the chargers. All chargers will have a ‘tap and go’ payment option, where users simply use their debit/credit cards to make a contactless one-off payment.
Not all car parks in Oxfordshire operate a Pay and Display system, but where they do you will have to pay for both parking AND charging separately.
At present it will not be possible to integrate the two payment systems, but this is something we will hope to achieve in future. Many current electric vehicle drivers will be used to this dual payment scenario from other electric vehicle parking schemes in the UK, so whilst it may seem a slight inconvenience, it should not pose a major barrier for electric vehicle users.
Car parks have been selected that do not have significant issues with crime. In general, additional security measures are not being put in place as part of Park and Charge, although this may need to be reviewed at a later date should this prove to be a barrier to uptake of the scheme.
Your insurer only normally needs to know where you ‘normally park your car’ – for most overnight users of Park and Charge, the council car parks will still not be the main place you park your car, so your insurance should not be affected by your parking for one or two nights week or less at the Park and Charge locations.
There will be a cheaper rate for residents to charge their electric vehicles slowly overnight than for fast charging during the day. The exact charging tariffs are yet to be confirmed but will competitive within the electric vehicle charging market. In addition to this, the cost per km for electricity is already 60% cheaper than the cost of petrol or diesel (4p per mile electric vs between 10p-17p per mile gas on average (Source:www.gov.uk./guidance/advisory-fuel-rates).
This again varies hugely depending on what electric vehicle you have, type of charger etc. Modern electric vehicle’s have a range somewhere between 150 and 300 miles, so depending how far you normally drive, you are likely to need to charge somewhere between a couple of times a week to a few times a month. It is also well observed that electric vehicle owners adapt their charging habits to suit their lifestyle.
This varies hugely depending on what electric vehicle you have and on the type of charger – there is no simple answer. However, the chargers in Park and Charge will be ‘smart’ and will work from 3kW up to a maximum of 22kW. The power will be fixed by the charger depending on time of day and electric vehicle hub capacity, the cost will be reflected by the rate. Therefore it may cost more for a fast charge during the daytime.
- At 7kW (typical overnight charging) you will get 25 (approx.) miles for every hour plugged in
- At 11kW (normal daytime charging) you will get 50 miles (approx.) for every hour plugged in
- At 22kW (maximum charging rate) you will get 75 miles (approx.) for every hour plugged in