Drivers in Bury St Edmunds can now recharge their Electric Vehicles (EVs) in as little as 30 minutes after a new rapid charger was installed.
Highways England is investing more than £400,000 to install 11 rapid chargers across East Anglia, one of the first of which has been unveiled in the low emission car park in School yard East, close to the arc shopping centre.
The rapid charger is capable of charging two cars at a time and can substantially recharge the battery of an EV in just 30 minutes. Users will be able to park for free for up to two hours while their vehicle charges. They will only have to pay for the amount of electricity they purchase and will be able to pay via contactless card or use their existing Swarco E-Connect network account.
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Highways England on this project and that they chose West Suffolk to install one of the first of these new Rapid Chargers. It means that people can now drive into the town centre, go for a coffee or a meal, or a quick visit to the shops and return to find their Electric Vehicle recharged and ready to go, even if they’ve visited from more than 100 miles away. By working with our partners, the Council is supporting our communities and local businesses in making choices that are not only better for them both financially and environmentally, but which are also better for the wider economy and public health.”
Mark Collins, senior traffic technology specialist at Highways England, said: “Highways England is committed to helping improve the nation’s air quality and decarbonising road transport by introducing charge points to enable drivers of electric vehicles to have the capability to travel on our roads and complete their journeys as easy as drivers of vehicles with traditional engines.”
The Government plans to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2040. The Council recognises that given West Suffolk is a rural area, for some people, some journeys aren’t always possible by any other means than by car. It already has EV charge points in many of its car parks and it is looking at ways to make EV infrastructure more accessible for residents and businesses. A pilot scheme to help EV owners that don’t have a driveway recharge their cars outside their home will soon be launched. The Council has also secured funding for rapid chargers in Newmarket, details of which are being finalised and will be announced later in the year.
Cllr Susan Glossop, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The technology to support EVs is improving all the time and means that EVs can now make many long journeys on a single charge. With running costs from as little as a quarter of the cost of a petrol or diesel vehicle, EVs are becoming a more realistic option not just for residents but for businesses including trades people and small scale suppliers. By switching to EVs people are also helping reduce air pollution which Public Health England says cost the country £42.88 million in health and social care costs last year.”
West Suffolk councils already offers a Greener Business Grant which match funds a business up to £1,000 towards the cost of an electric vehicle or company charge point. All of this is part of its wider work around reducing air pollution, work which includes reducing vehicle idling and encouraging greater use of clean energy particularly solar energy.