There are more than 142,200 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of August 2020 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.
Source: next greencar - Statistics
There are a number of different types of electric vehicle technology including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, range extended and battery-electric; 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
What 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 ensure cables do not cause additional trip hazards. For more information please see Suffolk County Council - Electric vehicle charging policy
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?
- The Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) is automatically applied to eligible EVs at the point of sale up to a maximum grant value of £3,500 and for eligible vans, this is increased to £8,000 - see GOV.UK - Changes to the Plug-in Car Grant
- Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75 per cent towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK capped at £350- see GOV.UK - Customer guidance: Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme
- The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) covers 75 per cent of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 for each socket, up to a maximum of 20 across all sites for each applicant- see GOV.UK - Workplace Charging Scheme guidance for applicants installers and manufacturers
- Local business may be eligible for grants see greener business grant and business energy efficiency at the bottom of this page
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
Public car parks
Some of the council’s public car parks have dedicated AC electric vehicle charging bays. Parking is free for vehicles when using and charging an electric vehicle in these bays. Users will need to register and pay for a 'Polar Account' to use the charging bays. Any non-electric vehicle or electric vehicles not charging in an EV bay may receive an Excess Charge Notice. The chargers can be found in the following car parks:
- Jubilee Walk, Haverhill
- Guineas multi-storey, Newmarket
- Parkway multi-storey, Bury St Edmunds
- Ram Meadow, Bury St Edmunds
- West Suffolk House – please note, this is for visitors to West Suffolk House and parking is limited to 90 minutes.
West Suffolk Council have installed rapid chargers in both School Yard East car park, Bury St Edmunds and All Saints car park, Newmarket. As an example, the 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 charger. Regular users may wish to sign up to e.connect at: Swarco E.Connect
Bury St Edmunds access
Drivers must collect a free ticket allowing a maximum of two hours of free parking from the adjacent machine by pressing the yellow button.
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.
Any non-electric vehicle or electric vehicle not charging in an EV bay or not displaying a ticket at any charging location, may receive an Excess Charge Notice. Some users may experience a pre-authorisation charge.
On street charging
The council has installed EV charge points to lampposts in areas where residents park on-street including Bury St Edmunds, Exning and Newmarket. This trial scheme will allow residents who don’t have access to off street parking to charge their EV during the day or overnight. The chargers will use electricity from the street lights but will not stop the lights from working properly, while the chargers will carry on working even after the street lights have been switched off at night.
You can use either RFID card or mobile app to access the chargers see: Swarco E.Connect . As the lamppost chargers and rapid chargers are on the same network, you can use your preferred access method on both charger types.
We may be able to extend this trial in areas of demand. To recommend your street contact email@example.com and include clear photos of lampposts at the front of the pavement.
Many other organisations are installing charging facilities including pubs, hotels and employers. To see where the nearest chargers are to you check Zap-Map
Electric vehicle event - 25 August 2018
Following on from the success last year, the third West Suffolk electric vehicle event was held on Saturday 25 August 2018. The event, held in Charter Square, in the Arc Shopping Centre, featured seven vehicles from local dealerships including a pure-electric Jaguar I-Pace and Renault Zoe along with local charging network operators. The public were able to look around and inside the vehicles and get to grips with charging equipment, whilst representatives were on hand to answer any questions.
- Drive the future of transport - West Suffolk electric vehicle event leaflet
- Electric vehicle event press release
If you would like to be involved with future electric vehicle events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about electric vehicles and additional support available: