Oxford City Council adds electric vehicles to fleet as part of net-zero journey

Oxford City Council has had its first batch of electric vehicles (EVs) issued as both the council and the city gear up to deliver an "energy superhub" as part of a net-zero emissions trajectory.

Oxford City Council has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within its own operations by the end of 2020

Oxford City Council has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within its own operations by the end of 2020

Oxford Direct Services (ODS), which is owned by the city council, has added six EVs to its fleet, with an additional 27 low-emission vehicles set to be delivered and integrated over the next four months.

ODS is aiming to electrify 25% of its 330-strong fleet by 2023 and future EVs will include passenger vehicles, street sweepers, vans and an excavator. The vehicles will be funded by a £41m ESO project that has been backed by £10m in Government funding from the Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge.

The EV project is being spearheaded by Oxford City Council, with Pivot Power assisting on charging infrastructure across the city. Other corporate involvement includes Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems (previously redT energy), Kensa Contracting and the University of Oxford.

Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for zero-carbon oxford, Tom Hayes said: “Oxford is continuing to show leadership in tackling the climate emergency. With this project, we are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and move to zero carbon.”

Net-zero Oxford

Oxford City Council has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within its own operations by the end of 2020, after residents on the local authority's Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change requested such a move.

At a city level, Oxford has unveiled plans to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre with an ultimate aim to deliver a zero-emission zone in 2035. At 16%, transport is the section largest emitting sector in the city behind buildings.

An “Energy Superhub” will play host to the world’s first transmission-connected 50MW lithium-ion and redox-flow hybrid battery systems as well as a network of 320 ground-source heat pumps.

Around 400 electric vehicle (EV) chargers will power new EV capacity. Transport accounts for three-quarters of the nitrogen dioxide pollution in Oxford, and 50 tonnes of CO2 are emitted by road traffic in the city every morning rush hour. However, over the past 10 years, air pollution levels in the city have decreased by more than 36%.

Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have published proposals on a zero-emission zone (ZEZ) for a city centre, which could be rolled out to a small part of the city by December this year.

As a result of the ZEZ, buses and Oxford licensed Hackney Carriages that will drive within the planned ZEZ have agreed on timelines to introduce zero-emission fleets across Oxford and will not be subject to charges. From January 2020, all Hackney Carriage Vehicles licenced in the city will transition to becoming zero emissions by 2025. Bus companies will also work with the councils to move towards zero emissions by 2035 at the latest.

Also in Oxford, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks will work to install around 90 small-scale low-carbon energy projects, which will be connected under a distribution System Operator approach to form a “local energy marketplace”. The network will enable peer-to-peer energy trading among participants and aims to “unlock” flexibility across the City-region.

You can read an in-depth exploration of Oxford’s net-zero ambition as part of edie’s “net-zero cities” series.

Matt Mace



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