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Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Friday, 3 December 2010
Electric car charging points open in Bury St Edmunds
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

Electric car charging point, Bury St Edmunds
Jeremy Bloomfield charges his car in the Parkway multi-storey

Suffolk's first public electric vehicle charging points have been opened in the Parkway multi-storey car park in Bury St Edmunds.

You have to pay to enter the car park, but St Edmundsbury Borough Council is paying for the electricity.

"One of the reasons slowing the take-up of electric cars has been the availability of charging points," said Councillor Terry Clements.

"We hope that knowing you can top-up here may prove an incentive."

The charging points are in two bays and they've been installed free of charge by Cale Briparc Ltd.

The council owns the multi-storey and charges £1.50 to park for up to four hours and £1.90 for longer.

The council estimates that if the bays are in constant use for the six months of the pilot scheme, then the charging points will cost it about £500.

Electric car, London
A charging point at Wilton Street in central London

Electric car-owner

Jeremy Bloomfield owns two Citroën Berlingo Electriques which he bought second-hand in 2007.

"Bury should be very much applauded for their action in doing this.

"Hopefully, one can expect other councils to follow. Not sure if they will, but it'll be good if they do."

He lives in Stoke-by-Nayland and drives the 40 mile round trip to work in Ipswich every day.

He gets 35-45 miles from a fully-charged car, depending on the season.

"If needs be we can top-up when we get to work. We can do most of our weekend trips, such as shopping, without any problems at all, so it fits in with most of our travel."

It takes him six hours to charge the car which he usually does at home on the cheaper night rate.

Mr Bloomfield estimates it costs him two pence per mile compared to the 10-12 pence a mile it costs him to run the family's diesel car, which they use for longer journeys.

"Statistically about 80% of people's journeys are less than 40 miles, so in the longer term the reality [for longer journeys] could be renting for the day," he said.

"If you can live with a range of about 40 miles or have somewhere where you can definitely charge, then do it.

"Even from the mix of electricity that we use carbon emissions are down to about 60 grams per mile compared to about 120g on most other low-emission vehicles.

"I get a pleasant glow in my wallet every week."

The nearest other public battery-charging points are in the Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich, Lakeside in Essex and at the Grafton East and Queen Anne Terrace car parks in Cambridge.

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