Decision details

Decision details

Low Emissions Taxi Infrastructure Scheme

Decision Maker: City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019),

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To progress the City Council’s electric vehicle charging for taxis project.  


Decision to award a contract to Electric Blue Ltd that runs until 31st March 2025 with an option of a further three year extension, at a maximum cost to the council of £317060 (total budgetary spend).


The Supplier will be responsible for:

a)    The supply and installation of a minimum of four rapid electric vehicle charging units (eight charge points),

b)    A feasibility study to identify the most viable sites and ensure value for money.

c)    Qualified design support and contract administration to ensure the delivered solutions meet the Council’s requirements, all relevant regulation, and the conditions of the external funder, Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

d)    Charge point operations and maintenance of the delivered chargers and associated infrastructure,

e)    The integration of the existing Go Ultra Low Oxford taxi rapid chargers into the back office and maintenance regimes on expiry of the existing contracts.

f)     The contract also allows for the supply of fast charging installations however it is not currently expected that these will be pursued.



Reasons for the decision:

1.    Oxfordshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan 4, published in 2015, set out proposals to introduce a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford starting in 2021. Since then proposals have been developed by Oxford City Council, in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, for a ZEZ in Oxford, to be rolled out in phases starting in 2021.  The overall aim of this journey to zero is to eliminate transport ‘tailpipe’ emissions in Oxford city centre by 2035. Transitioning businesses and residents to ultra low and zero emission vehicles is a critical building block of this zero emission ambition.


2.    Action is required because there is no ‘safe’ level of air pollution. A 2016 report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found that outside air pollution cuts short 40,000 lives a year in the UK. Transport is by far the most significant source of emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in Oxford, accounting for 75% of emissions.


3.    New emissions requirements for hackney carriages were recommended by the General Purposes Licensing Committee on the 23rd of January 2019 and adopted by the Council on Wednesday 13 February 2019: Citywide Hackney Carriages emissions standards are applying since January 2020, with a requirement for all vehicles to be ULEV by 2025.


4.    To support the EV transition of Oxford Licensed Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles in the Context of the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) Oxford City Council successfully applied for the Taxi grant under the Go Ultra Low Cities programme, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), totalling £373000, to fund up to 16 rapid taxi charge points that allow a vehicle to charge up to 80% in under an hour, and 3 fast chargers, charging vehicles in under 5 hours.


5.    The Oxford public taxi rapid charging installation was amongst the first in the Country. To protect the Council from unknown unknowns, a pilot approach was pursued, delivering 4 rapid charge points (two chargers) for Oxford licensed Ultra Low Emission (ULEV) taxis and private hire vehicles at Manzil Way Gardens that are regularly used by the existing ULEV Taxi fleet.



Alternative options considered:

Three alternative options were available – non-award, re-procurement or award to a less desirable contractor.



As the funding for the contract in question is specifically allocated to the contracted service under OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) grant conditions, non-award could have meant to forgo the allocated funding, including a risk of claw-back of spend already accrued under GULO Phase 1 – 4 rapid charge points in Manzil Way gardens. Either would have risked damaging the relationship with key stakeholders – Our OLEV funding partners, and the stakeholders this service is designed to support, the local Hackney Carriage trade. 



Sixteen potential suppliers engaged with the project team at the open day, and five bids were submitted, two of which were taken forward to the shortlisting stage. If both shortlisted bids were non-viable, re-procurement would have been considered. This was not deemed necessary due to the high score of the successful bid and the reasonable score of the runner-up. 

Award to a less desirable contractor

Four bids submitted for the contract were viable, with two of a sufficient quality to be taken forward to shortlisting. Both shortlisted suppliers were invited to an interview. The winning bid scored substantially higher than the runner-up on the winning business model B, and moderately higher on business model A, in both cases on quality and on price.


Signed off by senior officers:

Signed off by  Transition Director, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer and Section 151 officer.

Publication date: 25/03/2020

Date of decision: 20/03/2020

Effective from: 28/03/2020

Accompanying Documents: