First rapid charger for fleet vehicles being installed in Oxford

First rapid charger for fleet vehicles being installed in Oxford

Major milestone achieved on the road to becoming a zero carbon city by Oxford Company ODS

While cities across Europe report increasing air pollution as lockdown eases, ODS, the company whose frontline staff collect waste and keep Oxford clean, has achieved a major milestone on the road to becoming a zero carbon city, helping to maintain the current lower air pollution levels.

The city’s first 50kW rapid electric charger was installed this week at the ODS depot in Marsh road in Cowley as part of the £41m Energy Superhub Oxford project, led by Oxford City Council and Pivot Power (an EDF Renewables UK company).

The charger, produced by innogy eMobility UK, will be capable of replenishing a fleet vehicle battery in just forty minutes to eighty per cent battery capacity. A further 32 fast 22kW chargers have been installed at ODS marking a significant milestone in the ESO project. The project also includes Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems (previously redT energy), Kensa Contracting and the University of Oxford.

While electric vehicle charging points are becoming more common across the country, the six feet tall rapid charging point at the Cowley Marsh depot is significant because it paves the way for the first electric heavy goods vehicle to start work in the city, a vehicle which also happens to be one of the first electric refuse collection vehicle built by original equipment manufacturer, Dennis Eagle, in the UK. 

These ‘firsts’ are all part of a plan to ensure the city is at the forefront of a green economic recovery and environmental transformation. ESO was awarded a grant of £41m by Innovate UK for Oxford to  become one of just four demonstrator projects in the UK, where the city will become the blue-print which other towns and cities can follow.

Simon Howick MD of ODS said: “I’m delighted that ODS is able to play its part in reaching this milestone for Oxford through the installation of these charging points.”

The work is an important step in the ESO project as Tim Rose, ESO Programme Manager, Pivot Power explained: “These chargers, the vehicles that will use them and the information they deliver, will allow us to demonstrate how through research and real life actions, electric vehicles can form part of a smart, local energy system that accelerates Oxford’s journey to zero carbon and benefits the whole community.”

As ODS delivers so many different frontline services for the community on behalf of the council including waste collection, street cleansing, property, highways and parks management, it is an ideal organisation to trial the innovative new electric charging points and vehicles. They can be put to work in a wide variety of situations to prove their efficiency and measure the impact of driving styles, working demands and charging patterns on the battery and vehicle performance.

ODS has 330 vehicles in its fleet, and is aiming to make a quarter of them electric by 2023.  In total, 34 new electric vehicles will arrive this year including cars, a street sweeper, an excavator and mix of different sized vans, with most interest focussed on the new refuse collection vehicle, a vast electric vehicle due in Oxford for a trial period later this month. 

Karl Anders, CEO of innogy eMobility UK, explained how the charging points will provide practical information to help ODS improve energy efficiency: “The chargers gather data about the energy usage of each vehicle. ODS can extract that data and integrate it into third party platforms for management reporting, to understand driving behaviour and identify potential efficiency improvements across its fleet.”

RFID cards or App authentication allows only authorised drivers to charge their vehicles ensuring the fleet remains operational at all times. ODS will retain control of its charging infrastructure and the data created by its users, and will be able to record results against climate change objectives.  For example, when the new electric refuse collection vehicle is in use this one vehicle alone is expected to record a saving of 27 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. When all 27 refuse carts are electric, 750 tonnes less CO2 will be emitted in Oxford per year or the weight of one average car every day.

Smart technology in the innogy charging points means that charging can be programmed to take place when electricity is cheaper to buy, and can dynamically manage the load between priority and routine vehicles as well as the available energy on site.

Ultimately, the aim is for chargers to connect directly to ESO’s EV charging network which will be optimised alongside the new super battery. This will deliver massive amounts of power for rapid EV charging at key locations around the city, including the public superhub at Redbridge Park & Ride.   

Staff at ODS were keen to drive the new vehicles and a company-wide survey identified staff who could use them based on their roles, and the ability to charge the vehicles at their homes if required.

Owain Pearce, Transport Manager for ODS and Sean Fry, Project Manager, have been planning for this day for months, coordinating activity with Tina Mould and Katie Colledge-Price, who are members of the Environmental Sustainability Team at the City Council. Together with Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council they marked the official ‘opening’ of the charging points last week.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford , Oxford City Council said: “It’s a great moment for Oxford and the City Council to see this new charging point going in, it’s a cornerstone event in the Energy Superhub Oxford project which brings significantly more power to the city. Every vehicle powered by electricity helps to reduce the council's emissions and address our climate breakdown and air pollution problem. The chargers’ smart technology will also help to achieve smarter ways of working which should benefit the council as a whole.”