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Increasing Oxfordshire’s electric vehicle charging capability

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VolkerSmart Technologies has been working in partnership with Franklin EV for Oxford City Council to increase the number of domestic and commercial electric vehicle charge points available throughout Oxfordshire.

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As part of Oxford City Council ‘Go Ultra Low Oxford’ project, VolkerSmart Technologies installed nine on-street, standalone charging units for 20 local residents, who participated in the trial. Positioning the chargers kerb-side provides a charging option for those residents with no access to a driveway, who instead use on-street parking.

In addition, VolkerSmart Technologies installed five domestic wallbox units, which are waterproof and powered by the household’s consumer unit, making them secure from electricity theft. Keeping safety front-of-mind, VolkerSmart Technologies was involved in developing an innovative, covered channel within the footway beside each unit, allowing a charging cable to run through, as part of a pavement gulley trial. The charging units are fitted with extra-long charging cables, for convenience, as well as smart energy meters, to monitor usage.

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Oxford resident, Jesper Ekelund, said: “This is such a great solution for people like me, who live on busy terraced streets. I am able to charge my car at home and the discreet pavement channel makes it easy to hide the cable, avoiding any trip risk. Several neighbours and passers-by have commented on what a clever solution it is.”

As part of the upgrade and replacement project to bring the phase one estate up to current standards, VolkerSmart Technologies collaborated closely with Franklin EV, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to deliver a new build-out solution to move electric vehicle chargers from the footway to the highway. The units were installed with dual ports, to increase charging availability, and protection bollards, for defence against potential vehicle impact damage.

VolkerSmart Technologies was able to increase efficiency by having previously installed the appropriate electricity connection interface with the DNO, meaning only electrical supply disconnection, reconnection and commissioning needed to be done. Once registered with the back-office system, the charger was set to ‘live’. Already there have been good utilisation of these charging units.

The prototype chargers that these new chargers replaced were sent back to the manufacturer, to be reconditioned or recycled.

Throughout the process, the team ensured full compliance for advance permitting of works in accordance with the New Road and Street Works Act and the Traffic Management Act. Letter drops were also undertaken to keep residents fully informed of the works.

David Easton Jnr, project manager for VolkerSmart Technologies, said: “With the rise of electric vehicles, and the government ceasing the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, these electric vehicle charge points are a huge step forward for Oxford City Council. The project was a great success and was delivered on time and within budget.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said “One of the main challenges we face in Oxford is space for on-street chargers and the Council is creating solutions for residents without off-road parking who are therefore unable to install their own charger. VolkerSmart Technologies were very collaborative in their work.”

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