12 Oct 2021
Park and Charge roadshows give local residents chance to drive the EV revolution
Events were part of the project’s strategy to get Oxfordshire ‘EV ready’ by giving access to well positioned charging hubs and the confidence and resources to make the switch
Park and Charge Oxfordshire took to the road recently to hold electric vehicle (EV) roadshows in Abingdon, Henley and Witney. The events are part of the Park and Charge’s drive to get Oxfordshire ‘EV ready’, giving local residents the chance to learn more about electric vehicles and the different options available for making the switch from petrol cars.
Park and Charge Oxfordshire is an initiative funded by The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK, and delivered by Oxfordshire County Council, Zeta Specialist Lighting, Urban Integrated [ui!]uk, EZ Charge and the University of Oxford. “We are forecasting future EV uptake in different English regions and assessing the most strategic car parks to install EV charging points, to make them accessible to local residents without off-street parking”, says Dr Katherine Collett, a Senior Researcher in the Energy and Power Group at the University.
The Cattle Market car park in Bicester already has EV charge points installed and is being regularly used. At least 20 further car parks are due to be installed over autumn/winter, giving residents with no off-street parking the ability to park for free overnight and charge their electric vehicles at competitive prices.
Jenny Figueiredo, Oxfordshire Council’s EV Charging Projects Liaison Officer says, “Over 300 people attended the three roadshow events. Feedback has been excellent, and local people were really excited to hear about the Park and Charge hubs that are coming soon, as well as get an opportunity to talk to EV experts and drivers, and to actually get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle – which for many people was the very first time”.
More than 80 people took test drives in a range of new and second-hand vehicles supplied by Go Green Autos, Go Green Leasing, North Oxford MINI and Inchcape Toyota. Jenny adds, “I can hand on heart say that everyone enjoyed the test drives and were impressed with their experience of driving electric – we know for a fact that people from our Bicester events earlier in the year went on to buy EVs after having come to the event, and we expect that will be the case with our other events too”.
Visitors also had the opportunity to talk to local ‘EV Champions’ – Oxfordshire residents who have already made the switch to EV and could talk about their experiences first-hand and give honest, advice and encouragement. “People really appreciated having a range of vehicles to try in a really relaxed and friendly environment – free of sales pressure – where everyone was just genuinely enthusiastic about EVs”, Jenny says.
Dr Hannah Budnitz from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit was also on hand to talk to visitors about their interest in EVs and how to charge them. As part of the Park and Charge project Hannah is researching the barriers to electric vehicle adoption, particularly where at-home charging is not possible.
The events were organised on behalf of the project by Green.TV – look out for their films on the Park and Charge Youtube channel and follow them on social media: