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Drivers are going green as Norfolk sees 60pc rise in electric cars

An electric car being charged by the roadside. Picture: Press Assocation.

An electric car being charged by the roadside. Picture: Press Assocation.

Archant

More Norfolk and Suffolk drivers are getting on board the green revolution as figures show a huge rise in electric cars on our roads.

An electric car charging on the roadside. Picture: Laura Dale/PA Wire An electric car charging on the roadside. Picture: Laura Dale/PA Wire

From September 2016 to 2017, the number of registered plug-in vehicles in Norfolk increased by 60pc - one of the biggest rises in the country - with an increase of 56pc over the same period in Suffolk.

The Department for Transport statistics show that from July to September in 2016 there were 538 electric vehicles on the roads in Norfolk. And by the latest quarter, from July to September in 2017, that figure had grown to 863.

However there’s still a long way to go to reach the 2,824 electric cars in Peterborough, which had the highest increase of any local authority in the UK.

The rise has been helped by an increase in the range of electric vehicles on offer, lower prices and more miles before drivers need to recharge.

The electric car Pod Point charging point at the A47 Brundall McDonalds. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The electric car Pod Point charging point at the A47 Brundall McDonalds. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Kevin Abbs, director of North Norfolk Nissan dealer Crayford and Abbs, which recently launched the newest version of the Nissan Leaf electric car, said the understanding, awareness and driveability of electric cars has grown over the last five years, which in turn has led to credibility.

He said: “The running costs of an electric car are much lower than petrol or diesel and people are exceedingly surprised when they come out to drive one because they do drive so well.

“The infrastructure has grown immeasurably within the last three or four years so that every service station you now go to will have electric charge points.”

While Mr Abbs said there is still some work to be done installing more charging points around Norfolk, in a few years time he expects to see them in every car park and supermarket in the county.

Kevin Abbs, director of North Norfolk Nissan dealer Crayford and Abbs, which recently launched the newest version of the Nissan Leaf electric car. Photo: Karen Bethell. Kevin Abbs, director of North Norfolk Nissan dealer Crayford and Abbs, which recently launched the newest version of the Nissan Leaf electric car. Photo: Karen Bethell.

He added: “It’s been so pleasing for us to see how many people are embracing the change because once you do break through those fear factors people actually love them.”

South Norfolk saw the biggest increase in the number of electric cars on its roads from September 2016 to 2017 going from 104 vehicles to 186.

It was closely followed by Broadland which rose from 91 vehicles to 154.

Great Yarmouth was the lowest with only 11 new vehicles registered, followed by Norwich with 33, taking the total number of electric car users to 92.

Paul Sergent with his electric car. Picture: Archant library. Paul Sergent with his electric car. Picture: Archant library.

Suffolk figures

Suffolk has seen a 56pc increase in the number of electric cars on its roads, with more than 800 now registered in the county.

From July to September in 2016, there were 540 electric vehicles in Suffolk, however from July to September in 2017 that figure jumped up to 842.

Suffolk Coastal saw a 66pc increase in that same period, going from 116 electric vehicles to 193.

Paul Sergent charging his Nissan Leaf electric car. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Sergent. Paul Sergent charging his Nissan Leaf electric car. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Sergent.

However in Waveney, only 22 new vehicles were registered, taking the number of electric cars from 77 to 99.

Southwold brewer Adnams has been using an electrically powered van since 2016, and as well as having its own mains supply the company rolled out a set of electric vehicle charging points at some of its pubs including at The Swan in Southwold and The Plough in Wangford.

An owner’s perspective

Paul Sergent, 68 from Costessey, bought a Nissan Leaf electric car just over a year ago.

He said: “I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to gadgets and because of my interest in anything electric I thought I would give it a go.

“I like the car very much. The only reservation I had initially was about the lack of charging points, but they do seem to be coming up quite a bit in the Norwich area now. The two Bannatynes gyms in Norwich have had chargers installed and the new Lidl in Aylsham Road has got one too. So my wife has started going there for the shopping and I have a wander around while the car is charging so it is win-win for everyone.”

Mr Sergent said there are two types of chargers - rapid and destination - the first of which will charge his car up fully in about 20 minutes, while the latter would take four to six hours.

He said: “It costs me less than £1 to charge it at home and a lot of the charging points are still free around Norwich.

“I’ve saved well over £1,000 a year on fuel so it makes it worth while and the performance is good. The only draw back at the moment is the cost of buying a new one.”

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