Transport Minister Norman Baker has revealed that he plans to make Oxford the lead city for promoting electric cars. There will be more charge points in the city, per head of population, than anywhere else in Europe. One of the world’s leading e-car charge point developers, Chargemaster, has started fitting charge points in and around Oxford already.
They have installed forty of the POLAR charge points and in the next few weeks will put in another twenty-four. They cost £5000 each. Another fifty will be installed over the next year and another one hundred within forty minutes’ drive of Oxford. This means that there will be sixty-four charge points in and around Oxford in the next few weeks. This is one per 2,500 head of population and more than any other city in Europe.
It is also planned to start an electric car sharing club which will be run by Hertz On Demand. To start with there will be ten Nissan Leaf electric cars which will be left at strategic points around the city for use by members. Membership of the club is free but it will cost £5 per hour to hire one of the cars. The costs of running an electric car are minimal compared to a petrol-fuelled car.
A fully-charged car will run for about a hundred miles at a cost of about £2. There is no road fund tax to pay and if you drive in London there is no congestion charge to pay. On the other hand, electric cars are very expensive to buy: about £25,000 which includes a government subsidy of £5,000. The charging process also takes a long time. It takes about 20 minutes at a charging point and even longer if you charge it at home.