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East Anglia Future 50

New initiative means Suffolk is leading the charge when it comes to electric vehicle power

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:13 06 February 2019

Founder and CEO of EO Charging, Charlie Jardine  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Founder and CEO of EO Charging, Charlie Jardine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The UK's first 'fully open' electric charging network has just been launched in Suffolk.

The Stowmarket company EO Charging, which is one of the UK’s leading electric vehicle (EV) charging manufacturers, has launched a ground-breaking new initiative, ‘Plug In Suffolk’, in partnership with Suffolk County Council and renewable energy provider Bulb, to make it easier for people to power up their EV vehicles.

It is the UK’s first ‘fully open’ public fast charging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, meaning EV drivers simply pay by contactless payment with no need to register with networks or become members of organisations.

The first ‘Plug in Suffolk’ charging location were unveiled at Urban Jungle Plant Nursery and Cafe in Beccles.

The company offer two 7kW EO chargers alongside the EO Pay kiosk, allowing members of the public and employees to charge their electric vehicles.

Launch of the new EO charging points at The Urban Jungle in Beccles  L-R Richard Rout (Cabinet member for environment and public protection), Richard Seppings, Charlie Jardine ( EO Charging) and Peter Frost, Environment Strategy Officer for Suffolk County Council, Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLaunch of the new EO charging points at The Urban Jungle in Beccles L-R Richard Rout (Cabinet member for environment and public protection), Richard Seppings, Charlie Jardine ( EO Charging) and Peter Frost, Environment Strategy Officer for Suffolk County Council, Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

‘Plug In Suffolk’ will see the installation of electric vehicle charging stations - up to 400 individual sockets -across the county at 100 key locations and business addresses. Once completed, the charging network will be available for all plug-in vehicle drivers, with each charging location listed on www.pluginsuffolk.org or searchable via Zap Map and Google Maps.

EO Charging designs and manufactures electric vehicle chargers and sells them in 27 countries around the world, aiming to become the number one electric vehicle charging manufacturer in the world by 2025.

Having secured a £13m investment last June from the investment firm Zouk capital, EO Charging is keen to expand, and is currently in discussion with a number of other local authorities to launch similar projects across the UK.

EO Charging’s chief executive Charlie Jardine claims that Suffolk’s existing charging infrastructure is “simply not fit for purpose” if EVs are to be widely adopted across the county.

Richard Seppings, Peter Frost and Charlie Jardine at the new contactless charging point  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRichard Seppings, Peter Frost and Charlie Jardine at the new contactless charging point Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The ‘Plug In Suffolk’ network will play a vital role in increasing the density of publicly available fast EV chargers, and will ensure that driving electric in Suffolk is hassle-free,” he said. “Charging should be as easy as buying groceries, simply tap-and-go.

“We want to support Suffolk County Council’s ambition of creating the greenest county and firmly believe that implementing this network is an important piece of the puzzle. We’re also pretty excited to be launching the network on our home soil here in Suffolk.”

EO Charging has also partnered with Bulb, a green energy supplier based in London that claims to be the fastest growing supplier in the UK, to offer Suffolk businesses the opportunity to switch to 100% renewable electricity. Businesses that become a part of the ‘Plug In Suffolk’ network will be able to switch to Bulb, which claims to provide renewable energy at prices on average 15% lower than standard energy tariffs offered by the ‘Big Six’.

“We’re on a mission to make the UK the greenest country on earth, and are working to support the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the UK,” said Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, head of Bulb Labs. “‘Plug in Suffolk’ represents a significant step on the way towards building the infrastructure we need to make that happen.”

Founder and CEO of EO Charging, Charlie Jardine  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFounder and CEO of EO Charging, Charlie Jardine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, explained that the council is keen to reduce the barriers that drivers face when thinking about switching to EVs in Suffolk. “Installing charging infrastructure that not only covers a large rural area, but is also available to all electric vehicle drivers, is most certainly a challenge,” he said. “We’re confident, however, that the ‘Plug In Suffolk’ network will be a solution for many plug-in drivers.”

Businesses that install the ‘EO Pay’ unit and become part of the ‘Plug In Suffolk’ network will be able to charge visitors to charge their electric vehicle, thereby potentially making money from the venture in the long term.

Host businesses have the option to pay up-front for the chargers, or spread the cost through EO Charging’s new pay per day funding model – ‘Charging-as-a-Service’.

For further information or to apply to join the ‘Plug In Suffolk’ network head to www.pluginsuffolk.org.

The new contactless EO Charging point at the Urban Jungle in Beccles   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe new contactless EO Charging point at the Urban Jungle in Beccles Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The new contactless EO Charging point at the Urban Jungle in Beccles   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe new contactless EO Charging point at the Urban Jungle in Beccles Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

EO charger at the Urban Jungle  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEO charger at the Urban Jungle Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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