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It's home to one of the world's best universities, now Oxford wants to lead way in electric vehicle charging

John Harper | Moment | Getty Images

A program to install around 100 electric vehicle charging stations in Oxford is underway, in what is claimed to be the "first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world."

In an announcement Tuesday, Oxford City Council said it had partnered with Oxfordshire County Council to roll out the charging stations on residential streets in order to "help people go electric."

The city council said that the trial would see six different charging technologies installed, including the retrofitting of lampposts with charging stations.

The first phase will see 30 stations installed, with 10 available for the general public, 10 for individual households, and 10 for members of the Co-wheels Car Club. Co-wheels is a national car club which provides drivers with low emission, hybrid and electric cars on a "pay as you go" platform.

The charging stations will be ready to use in October, and the trial will run for 12 months. The solutions which work best will then be used on approximately 100 residential street sites.

The public chargers will use energy provided by Good Energy, a renewable energy business which has a network of solar, hydro, biofuel and wind generators.

Feedback from residents on the charging stations will be collated by researchers at the University of Oxford's Transport Studies Unit. The results will be shared with the U.K. government to help inform decisions on both national and local authority investment on charging stations.

"The project has global scientific significance because we know surprisingly little about how electric vehicle users and local communities adapt to new charging infrastructure, especially if this is provided on residential streets where availability of a parking space is not guaranteed," Tim Schwanen, director of the Transport Studies Unit, said in a statement.

Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said the project was an example of using Oxford as a "living lab."

"The pilot element of the project is a learning experience – identifying the best charging solutions for different situations and locations and using our assets in better, smarter ways will help minimize costs," he said. "We hope to take what we have learnt from this project and look at how we can support on street charging across the whole of Oxfordshire."