Buckinghamshire Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to trial an electric car club with an induction charger.

The On-Street Residential Induction Charger demonstrator (OSRIC) will make a hire car available to local residents in Marlow so they can test the latest wireless charging technology and also gain experience of driving an electric vehicle (EV).

Instead of plugging an electric car into a standard charging pillar, the induction wireless charging pad is set into the ground. The trial will help assess solutions to EV charging that avoids potential trip hazards and a clutter of wires. The pad will only be activated when an electric car (installed with the specialised induction pad) parks over it.

Because existing electric cars don’t have wireless charging, an adapted Renault Zoe electric vehicle will be made available for hire using the hire car company HiyaCar, so that residents can try it out and become familiar with how to charge it using the wireless pad. It can also be charged using a standard cable connection if driven away from the wireless pad.

‘This is a really exciting project and it’s been brilliant to see it in action. Buckinghamshire Council is forward thinking and willing to trial transport innovations such as this,’ said Cllr Steven Broadbent, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport.

‘The trial will explore the feasibility of wireless charging and will also allow residents who may be hesitant to change to an EV the chance to try one. The car offers hourly or daily rental options so for some people it could be an alternative to owning a car. This technology is still in the early stages but it should all make running an electric vehicle simpler and easier – to ultimately encourage more take up.’

The Marlow demonstrator is funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and is part of the government’s commitment to invest £1.3bn on charging infrastructure for EVs across the country.

Buckinghamshire Council is working with Char.gy, the charging point company, and with a team of local authorities, suppliers and researchers to run a set of trials in contrasting locations across Britain.

Richard Stobart, CEO and founder of Char.gy, commented: ‘As the adoption of electric vehicles increases, the ability to recharge EVs for drivers without off-street parking poses a challenge without increasing the amount of EV charge points potentially hindering pedestrian freedom of movement.

‘EV wireless charging is a promising way of meeting this demand, and trials such as this for the public to use and provide feedback is invaluable to developing this technology. Char.gy appreciates Buckinghamshire Council’s partnership with this project, helping to ensure that the technology will be easily adopted in the future.’