The electrical and atomization performance of a plane-plane charge injection atomizer using a dielectric liquid, and operating at pump pressures ranging from 15 to 35 bar corresponding to injection velocities of up to 50 m/s, is explored via low current electrical measurements, spray imaging and phase Doppler anemometry. The work is aimed at understanding the contribution of electrostatic charging relevant to typical higher pressure fuel injection systems such as those employed in the aeronautical, automotive and marine sectors. Results show that mean-specific charge increases with injection velocity significantly. The effect of electrostatic charge is advantageous at the 15-35 bar range, and an arithmetic mean diameter D 10 as low as 0.2d is achievable in the spray core and lower still in the periphery where d is the orifice diameter. Using the data available from this higher pressure system and from previous high Reynolds number systems (Shrimpton and Yule Exp Fluids 26:460-469, 1999), the promotion of primary atomization has been analysed by examining the effect that charge has on liquid jet surface and liquid jet bulk instability. The results suggest that for the low charge density Q v ~ 2 C/m 3 cases under consideration here, a significant increase in primary atomization is observed due to a combination of electrical and aerodynamic forces acting on the jet surface, attributed to the significantly higher jet Weber number (We j) when compared to low injection pressure cases. Analysis of Sauter mean diameter results shows that for jets with elevated specific charge density of the order Q v ~ 6 C/m 3, the jet creates droplets that a conventional turbulent jet would, but with a significantly lower power requirement. This suggests that 'turbulent' primary atomization, the turbulence being induced by electrical forces, may be achieved under injection pressures that would produce laminar jets.