Electric vehicles (EV)

Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure

Public car parks

Some of the council’s public car parks have dedicated AC electric vehicle charging bays. Users will need to register for a 'BP Pulse account' to use the charging bays. Any non-electric vehicle or electric vehicles not charging in an EV bay may receive a Penalty Charge Notice. The chargers can be found in the following car parks:

AC electric vehicle charging bays can also be found in Olding Road car park, Bury St Edmunds. Users will need to register for the SWARCO eConnect app. Please note this car park is only available during evenings and weekends. 

Rapid charging

West Suffolk Council have installed 50kW rapid chargers in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Mildenhall. As an example, a rapid charger allows those with a 40kWh Nissan Leaf to charge their vehicle from 0 to 80 per cent in 40 minutes. You can use either contactless bank card, RFID card or mobile app to access the charging. The chargers can be found in the following car parks:

Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket access

Drivers must pay for and display a valid parking ticket from the machines located in the car park. There is a maximum two hour stay when using the designated charging bays. Regular users may wish to sign up to E.connect at: Swarco E.Connect

Any non-electric vehicle or electric vehicle not charging in an EV bay or not displaying a ticket at any charging location, may receive a Penalty Charge Notice. Some users may experience a pre-authorisation charge.

Mildenhall access

Regular users may wish to sign up to BP Pulse at: BP pulse

Any non-electric vehicle or electric vehicle not charging in an EV bay or not displaying a ticket at any charging location, may receive a Penalty Charge Notice. Some users may experience a pre-authorisation charge.

On street charging

The council has run a trial by installing slow EV charge points to lampposts in areas where residents park on-street including Bury St Edmunds, Exning and Newmarket. This trial scheme allowed residents who don’t have access to off street parking to charge their EV during the day or overnight. The chargers use electricity from the street lights but don’t stop the lights from working properly, while the chargers carry on working even after the street lights have been switched off at night.

The trial has ended and there will be a short period while arrangements are made to confirm the supplier. If you would like to recommend your street contact environment@westsuffolk.gov.uk and include clear photos of lampposts at the front of the pavement. Please see our Privacy notice - surveys and information gathering describing how we will use your data.

Non-council operated

Many other organisations are installing charging facilities including pubs, hotels and employers. To see where the nearest chargers are to you check Zap-Map

There are more than 810,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of June 2023 and their popularity is expected to grow as more people realise the benefits of ownership. Central Government has published it's Road to Zero Strategy that outlines how the government will support the transition to zero emissions transport which will bring wider benefits such as improvements to local air quality.

Cumulative number of plug-in cars registered in the UK (2016 to date).

Bar graph showing the increasing number of plug in cars by year.

Source: Next Green Car - Electric car market statistics

There are a number of different types of electric vehicle technology including hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), range extended and battery-electric (BEV); all are designed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of personal travel. However, for simplicity, the information on this page relates to battery electric vehicles.

Zap-Map logoFor information on all of the EV charge points in West Suffolk, both council owned and privately operated, visit the Zap-Map website.

What are the benefits of switching to an electric vehicle?

  • Electric vehicles do not produce any exhaust pipe emissions at point of use and therefore help to contribute to improved local air quality.
  • The cost per mile for electric vehicles can be as low as a quarter of the cost of fossil fuelled equivalents.
  • Electric vehicles attract lower charges from clean air zones being implemented around the UK and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London.
  • Electric vehicles are exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
  • Electric vehicles are much quieter when travelling and therefore are considered more relaxing to drive compared to petrol or diesel vehicles.
  • Significantly lower maintenance and servicing costs due to a simple powertrain

Is an electric vehicle right for you?

Although there are numerous benefits to owning an electric vehicle, we appreciate they might not be best suited to everyone.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you pick the right electric vehicle.

1. Do I have a place to charge my car, either at home or work?

  • We recommend charging at home particularly overnight for the cheapest rate but forward thinking employers are starting to install chargers for their employees.
  • Please consider other road users when charging and make sure cables do not cause additional trip hazards. For more information please see Suffolk County Council - Electric vehicle charging

2. How far is my commute?

  • This will impact how often and where you need to charge your vehicle as well as the potential savings to be made.
  • Those who have longer commutes have the greatest potential to save money and emissions from switching to an EV

3. Do I regularly visit friends or family that live over 200 miles away from home?

  • Depending on the vehicle, you may have to stop for a rapid charge. These are available at most motorway service areas, alternatively, ensure you have access to a charger near or at your destination. Many hotels and attractions are installing charge points for patrons.

4. What is my budget?

  • As with petrol or diesel cars there are a variety of body shapes and price points. We encourage you to shop around for the best price.

5. Is there any support for me to purchase an electric vehicle?

Please see our Frequently asked questions in the related documents section for further information for those new to electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle charging etiquette - do's and don'ts

Do's Don'ts
  • Once you are fully charged please unplug your vehicle to allow others to charge.
  • Please report any damaged or faulty chargers using contacts found at each site.
  • If you are happy to, offer guidance to any other users if appropriate.
  • Do not plug in without actively charging, this will prevent others from accessing them.
  • Do not force connectors into sockets which they are not designed for.
  • Do not leave cables trailing on the footpath, instead, tuck them under your vehicle.

Find out more about electric vehicles and additional support available:

If you have any questions, please contact environment@westsuffolk.gov.uk