Political and business leaders have launched a £200,000 initiative to provide state of the art electric car charging facilities in West Norfolk.
Three units, each containing two rapid charging points, have been installed in Clough Lane, Lynn, outside the St James multi-storey car park, with a further unit at Hunstanton’s Central car park.
The scheme is one of 20 measures put forward by West Norfolk Council as part of a plan to tackle environmental concerns earlier this year.
Officials say the equipment will restore around 80 per cent power to most electric vehicle batteries in just 30 minutes, compared to up to eight hours via a domestic socket.
And Brian Long, the borough council’s cabinet member for environment, believes the measures could help to improve air quality in known problem areas, such as nearby London Road and around the Gaywood clock.
He said: “Even if it’s a small proportion of cars, everyone that uses an electric car is one less of emissions coming in and going out.”
The initiative has been funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, a government unit promoting the use and development of ultra-low emission cars, and a Nissan consortium.
And Scott Walker, sales manager of the West’s Nissan dealership in Lynn, hopes the manufacturer’s involvement will also boost interest in their range of electric vehicles.
Although the firm has offered electric cars for the past five years, and manufacturers claim such vehicles can be run for as little as two pence per mile, he said interest has so far been hampered by a lack of charging infrastructure.
“The range has never taken off until major developers like the council got behind it and realised there is a market out there for electric vehicles.”
The borough council has contributed a further £15,000 towards the cost of providing 50 kilowatt power supplies at the new sites.
But Mr Long said the authority would only have been able to fund the scheme itself through a four per cent rise in council tax.
Drivers will pay around 25 pence per kilowatt for using the new chargers. Users will also need to register a debit or credit card with the Charge Your Car network of charging points at http://chargeyourcar.org.uk/ev-driver/