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Plug in Suffolk
Case study

Plug in Suffolk charging network

Developing an open access public charging network in a rural county.


We aim to share information and provide support to local authorities on electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, including tailored webinars that help local authority officers build their knowledge and share expertise across many aspects of low emission transport.

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Open access charging

Launched in February 2018, Plug in Suffolk created the UK’s first ‘open access’ county-wide charging network. Suffolk is a predominately rural county and prior to this project, largely underserved by electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The Plug in Suffolk County Network aimed to change this while focusing on a key priority for many drivers: easy and open network access.

The open access approach means customers do not need a membership to access chargepoints: all chargepoints can be accessed using contactless payment. This also makes charging as simple as possible for visitors to Suffolk.

Community chargepoints

The Plug in Suffolk County Network currently includes 52 fast (7kW) chargepoints in car parks and community locations like libraries and community halls. These have been installed thanks to community grant funding, with a target to install up to 100 chargepoints in 2022.  

In publicly owned locations that are less commercially attractive and that have higher connection costs to the distribution network operator (DNO), the County Council has introduced a community grant. This was established using the County Council’s Suffolk 2020 fund, in response to Suffolk declaring a climate emergency. A proportion of this fund has been allocated to accelerating the rollout of EV charging in rural areas. 

The grant provides not-for-profit organisations, for example, a community centre or parish council, with funding to cover the cost of chargepoint installation. After consulting with parish councils, it was apparent that there was great interest in installing chargepoints in community locations. Parish councils were invited to submit expressions of interest and then each site was surveyed to confirm the practicality of the location.

The grant covers hardware and installation costs.  This allows the organisation to own the chargepoint and keep customer tariffs low.

The County Council is looking into how the On Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme could help support the community grant in the future.

Further information

More information can be found at and by listening to the recording of our webinar The rural perspective: A discussion on installing EV charging in rural areas.  

Last updated: 28 January 2022