FURTHER doubt has been cast on the “electric car revolution” in Oxford, with claims that charging points may be in the wrong place.
A new charging point has been installed at Peartree service station off the A34 north of the city, with its operators saying such locations are more likely to be used than those in and around the city centre.
But Oxford City Council says city chargers are the way forward, despite one of them not being used at all in more than two years.
Simon Crowfoot, managing director of Electric Highway, the company behind the Peartree charger, said: “Why charge in Oxford? Most people will charge their cars at home and are not going to need to do it again in town.
“But nothing is being done to address the problem of travelling to London from Oxford which creates ‘range anxiety’. We are joining the dots by installing chargers on A roads and the motorway network.”
Electric Highway has been running a charging point at Waterstock service station off the A40 in south Oxfordshire for about a year and it is attracting more than 60 separate uses every month.
Figures from Oxford City Council for the period January 1, 2011, to April 30 this year show the charging point at Peartree Park and Ride has not been used at all. The busiest charging point has been Worcester Street car park, with 57 separate uses over the period.
In May the Oxford Mail reported that plans to make Oxford the electric car centre of Europe had stalled as more than 50 charge points had not yet been installed despite a high-profile launch a year before.
The city council will get £18,000 next year and £22,500 this year to help cover the cost of installing the points for recharging the electric vehicles.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Oxford Brookes University had teamed up with car hire firm Hertz, with one of the cars being an an electric Mitsubishi i-Miev at its Headington Hill site.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The location of the existing infrastructure makes it most suitable for use by commuters or visitors to Oxford who are likely to park for anywhere from a number of hours up to a day.
“It is likely to be the case that members of the public with electric vehicles would have charging points at home. However, the existence of a publicly available charging infrastructure can help to decrease range insecurity and potentially make electric vehicles available to a wider audience.”