UK’s first Electric Forecourt opens in Essex

UK-wide network of over 100 Electric Forecourts powered by net zero carbon energy

The UK’s first Electric Forecourt has opened for business near Braintree, Essex, representing a major breakthrough for the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

The site is the first of over 100 Electric Forecourts being built by GRIDSERVE over the next five years, providing people with the confidence that the UK will have the charging infrastructure required for mass EV adoption well ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

The company’s £1bn UK-wide programme aims to make EV driving an enjoyable, ultra-convenient and stress-free experience, while delivering net zero EV driving at a cost that’s lower than driving petrol or diesel vehicles.

Toddington Harper, founder and CEO of Gridserve, said: “It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution.

“However, charging has to be simple and free of anxiety, which is why we’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model for a net-zero carbon world and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today – a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars

“Together with our charging-included electric vehicle leasing business, that we are also launching today in partnership with Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, people now have the full confidence to make the transition to an electric vehicle, knowing that charging is in-hand, and it’s actually less expensive to use an electric car than a petrol or diesel alternative.”

The Braintree Electric Forecourt, adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131, enables 36 electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously, with high power chargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of charging power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in 20 minutes, and much faster in the future as electric vehicle battery technologies mature.

Together with Gridserve, the project has been funded by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, Innovate UK and OZEV.

Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean, said: “As we accelerate towards cleaner and greener transport, I’m delighted to see the future of service stations being brought to life with the opening of the UK’s first all-electric forecourt.

“Government funding has helped make this dream a reality and with £2.8bn of support to encourage the uptake of zero emission vehicles, there has never been a better time to make the switch.”

The Electric Forecourt is part of Gridserve’s wider ‘sun-to-wheel’ infrastructure, built to deliver low cost, net zero carbon energy to every vehicle that uses one of it’s chargers.

Electricity is generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers, and a network of hybrid solar farms, also operated by the firm.

The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm in Clay Hill is paired with Braintree Electric Forecourt, providing 100 per cent renewable energy via the National Grid.

There is also a 6 MWh battery onsite which helps to balance the local energy grid and shift energy to periods when it is more valuable.

On windy winter nights the battery can store enough energy to drive 24,000 miles in electric vehicles the following day, helping to maximise the value of renewable energy resources, stabilise the grid, and keep prices low.

Drivers charging at the Electric Forecourt will initially pay just 24p per kWh of energy (including VAT), which is currently the lowest ultra-high power charging rates on the market today – meaning a typical charge from 20 to 80 per cent costs under £10 for an average-size electric vehicle on the market today.

To deliver additional flexibility Gridserve also have plans to introduce a tiered pricing structure in the future.

While vehicles charge, drivers can relax and shop in state-of-the-art facilities.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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