WANT to drive an electric car but can't afford to buy one? Now you don't have to.

An Oxford car-sharing club has bought 10 new electric BMWs which can be used across the city on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The Co-wheels car club added the electric BMW i3s to its fleet this month.


Some of the club's existing parking bays around the city have now been switched from 'petrol' to 'electric', but it has also added several new on-street parking spots in Jericho and West Oxford just for electric vehicles (EVs).

The aim of the project is to reduce air pollution and further lower Oxford’s carbon emissions by giving more people the option of driving electric vehicles.

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With an average range of up to 190 miles, the club said the BMW i3s are an 'ideal fit' for those travelling around the city, and hiring costs members £5.50 an hour.

Co-wheels director Richard Falconer said: "Co-wheels was the first UK car club to introduce electric cars and this is one of our biggest roll-outs of EVs to date.

"On top of the three existing car club EVs in the city this means Oxford has now taken the lead with more shared electric vehicles per head of population than any other UK city we know of.

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"This means that even if you don’t own an EV in Oxford you can still go zero emissions.

"We have seen a high demand for EVs with an improved range from Co-wheels members in Oxford and we have delivered - the BMW i3s allow for longer journeys. Oxford residents can now enjoy using the new BMW models whilst reducing the impact on our environment.”


The launch of the new fleet was announced at the two-day Oxford EV Summit last month where Co-wheels showcased the new BMW i3 to visitors in front of Oxford University’s Said Business School in Frideswide Square.

Mr Falconer added: "Launching the new BMW i3s has been a really exciting project for us and we felt such a buzz at the Oxford EV Summit."

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A Zero Emission Zone is being planned for Oxford with the city and county councils aiming for a zone excluding all polluting vehicles to be in place by 2037 at the latest. Plans for a 2020 driving ban for six streets were relaxed.

The city's first purpose-built electric black cab, arrived in April, and earlier this month city council leaders welcomed the initiative of the McDermott brothers whose company, Vert2Go, provides executive chauffeur services. It has chosen to buy an electric Tesla Model X for Oxford’s first electric private hire vehicle.


Tom Hayes, 'cabinet Member for zero carbon Oxford', said: “With climate change the direct result of our broken economy, we must tackle our climate crisis in ways that make our society fairer.

“We’re thrilled that Co-wheels will be expanding by investing in electric cars.

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“It’s great to see more opportunities for car sharing that will protect our health and climate.

“Oxford is determined to be the leading city of the UK for reducing car journeys and ensuring the majority of cars left on our roads are zero emissions.”