Electric vehicle charging

Find information about electric vehicle (EV) charging, including public charging networks, costs and funding and the Plug in Suffolk project.

The County Council, in partnership with Suffolk's district and borough councils, is working towards supporting and facilitating the uptake of electric vehicle charging opportunities across the county. 

There are a range of benefits of electric vehicles, including air quality and economic benefits. As the up-take of electric vehicles increases, we need to ensure that we put in place a strategy that reflects the role of the local authorities and explore the options for public charging across Suffolk. 

There are three methods that can be used by owners to charge their vehicles: 

  • Slow charging - defined as a charge rate of less than 7kW. It takes 6 - 12 hours to fully charge this way
  • Fast charging - defined as a charge rate of between 7kW and 22kW. It takes 2 - 6 hours to fully charge in this manner
  • Rapid charging - defined as a charge rate of more than 22kW. It usually takes 20 - 30 minutes to provide a charge of up to 80%

The above is only a guide, as battery capacity increases, this may change, new and used vehicles may also have different charge times. You can estimate the cost with the public charging calculator.

For more information and advice on low emission vehicles, please visit the Go Ultra Low website.

Contact us by email at suffolk.ltp@suffolk.gov.uk.

The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles through the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). There are two streams of funding currently available. You can find further details at Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

1. Home charging 

The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at domestic properties across the UK.

The grant is a 75% contribution towards the cost of one charge point and its installation up to a maximum of £500 (including VAT) per household/eligible vehicle. 

2. Workplace charging

The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.

The contribution is limited to the 75% of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £500 for each socket, up to a maximum of 20 across all sites for each applicant.

There are already a number of electric vehicle charging points available to the public in Suffolk. These are provided by several different charge point networks.

You can see an overview of most of the UK charging networks on Zap-Map.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council has led a bid to Highways England (HE) on behalf of councils in the East of England for 100% grant funding to install rapid EV charge points in East Anglia.

HE needs to provide rapid chargers along the strategic road network and asked local authorities to help. HE aspired to have a rapid charger every 20 miles along the strategic road network.

11 locations have been identified and, once installed, the charge point will become the asset of the host local authority and they will receive the income it generates. 

The rapid charge point will have the ability to provide an 80% charge in 30 minutes which will help remove range anxiety for EV drivers.

The locations are:

  • St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council (Central Bury St Edmunds)
  • Great Yarmouth Borough Council (Great Yarmouth)
  • Norwich City Council (UEA Norwich)
  • Breckland District Council (Attleborough, Swaffham, Thetford, Dereham)
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council (Felixstowe)
  • Ipswich Borough Council (Central Ipswich)
  • Tendring District Council (Harwich)
  • Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council (Needham Market)

All 11 will have contactless payment facilities so there is no need to subscribe to a specific charging network.

Available evidence supports the expectation that most plug-in vehicle owners will carry out the largest proportion of their charging at home and, as chargers are provided at workplaces, these too will become the places of choice to charge electric vehicles.

The County Council has not installed any on-street charge points and is awaiting the outcome and evaluation of numerous national trial projects before making any further decisions on the provision of on-street charging.

We need to consider how we successfully balance the needs of all road users, especially pedestrians and those reliant on a safe and accessible network of footways, the type of chargers needed and who is going to fund and maintain them once installed.

As energy-storing solutions for electric vehicles is a rapidly changing technological area, there is significant potential for installed new infrastructure to soon become outdated and potentially redundant.

Apart from short-term parking locations where vehicles would be expected to come and go regularly, it is also not appropriate for specific sections of the highway to be reserved for specific individuals (for vehicle charging or otherwise).

Plug in Suffolk is a project to pilot the feasibility of universal access to public electric car charging points using contactless credit cards and without the need to belong to a specific charging network.

The project helps to fill the gaps in our rural areas and encourage businesses and other local organisations to host a charging point without the capital outlay.

This will benefit the whole county not only by rolling out publicity accessible charging infrastructure rapidly with all the advantages that entails but also the use of local supply and installation companies as well.

For parking provision in new developments, electric vehicle charging is requested by Suffolk County Council in the 2015 Suffolk Guidance for Parking. The guidance can equally apply to changes to parking in existing developments. Section 2.4.2 details the levels in residential and non-residential developments. See the parking guidance page for more information.

Charging your vehicle on the street by trailing a cable across the pavement is not-permitted.

Cables across the path, or hanging overhead are a hazard, and it is an offence under The Highways Act to place wires or other apparatus across a path that are likely to post a danger to the public.

As well as risking a fine, if someone were to trip up and injure themselves, then you can be held responsible.

At present our advice is that people should not trail cables across public streets in any manner, including the use of a cable protector or cable ramp.