Agenda item

Agenda item

Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Strategy

Cabinet, at its meeting on 21 July, will consider a report on the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Strategy. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford; and  Mish Tullar, Head of Corporate Strategy have been invited to attend for this item. 


Cllr Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, introduced the report which sought approval to proceed with commissioning the Council’s EV strategy. This would  shape a citywide approach to EV charging provision by Charge Point Operators and determine the Council’s own future role in the EV world, one in which it had some agency. He would be pleased to return to Scrutiny in March 2022  to discuss the strategy once complete. 

The Committee raised a number of questions and comments about the report. The inclusion of some references to accessibility, not seen in an earlier draft, were most welcome. Further references to innovation in new vehicles and the desirability of ensuring accessibility in hire schemes (such as Co Wheels) and scooter schemes would be helpful . Motability use of electric vehicles is very limited and the Council might use its position of influence to encourage a more flexible approach. The reference to the EV charging infrastructure to be “a vehicle for inclusivity and unobstructive to those making the use of pavements” was welcome and could be usefully linked with the question at 32 g of the report with a reference, for example, to the need for accessible green transport.  It would be helpful for the strategy to take account of the Centre for Social Justice’s recommendations on transport and its recent report on disability. The term vulnerable drivers might be better replaced by “Drivers with protected characteristics and other needs”. In relation to destination charging there would perhaps be merit in enabling residents to make use of some of those charging points at a reduced rate at non-peak times.

Paragraphs 16 and 17, making the connection between electric vehicles and the wish to reduce the number of vehicles in the City overall, were seen to be key and a greater emphasis on the connection between them would be helpful. In response the Committee was reminded that this was not intended as a scoping document but rather a Cabinet report to set the context for the strategy commissioning process.

The Committee suggested that the paper needed to address the question of priorities. This was the subject of discussion concluding with a vote in favour of a proposal, as recorded below.

The final costs of the EV charging rollout were likely to be very considerable but it was not possible at this stage to quantify them. Implementation would be through a mix of private sector and public funding, with the majority likely to be via the private sector.

In relation to the eventual financing of EV charge point installation it was desirable that it should be subject to some ethical funding principles in recognition, for example, of the exploitation of some companies of the “Global South”. It was likely that there would be opportunities for ODS to contribute to the installation of EV charge point infrastructure to the benefit of everyone as well as acting as a market disruptor, a market which, if left to its own devices, would focus on the wealthier parts of the City.

The Committee noted that successful introduction of electric vehicles might in turn compromise the effectiveness of the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) and overall wish to reduce private traffic movement through the centre of the City. Councillor Hayes explained that it was for this reason that the Connecting Oxford congestion reduction scheme was designed to be introduced alongside the ZEZ.

In conclusion the Committee agreed to recommend to Cabinet that:

1.       When the Council commissions the EV infrastructure study it asks those who produce it to come up with a clear recommended prioritisation for EV infrastructure roll-out which takes account of the wider policy context of reducing overall private car ownership and use in the city.  The prioritisation should be clear, widely understandable by and acceptable to the public and the report should indicate how it could be applied in practice;

2.    The Council amends paragraph 16 of the report to remove reference to the Council already being committed to Connecting Oxford, and states instead that the Council has agreed to further scheme and business case development of Connecting Oxford;

3.    The Council includes within the EV strategy an evolution plan for the ZEZ for when ceases to serve its congestion-reducing function due to increased EV take-up; and

4.    The Council agrees not to partner with or commission organisations relating to the EV strategy in which it would be unable to invest because of its ethical investment policy.



Supporting documents: