UK’s first EV charging forecourt opens

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The UK’s first EV charging forecourt has opened at a location near Braintree, Essex.

Developed by sustainable energy company Gridserve, the facility, which opened on Monday 07 December 2020, is part of the firm’s plan to roll out 100 EV charging forecourts across the country over the next five years.

Gridserve said the opening of its electric forecourt will provide drivers with the confidence that the UK will have the charging infrastructure required for mass EV adoption ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Located just off the A131, the forecourt provides rapid chargers for up to 36 EVs. The high-power chargers can deliver up to 350kW of charging power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in 20 minutes.

The facility also offers a range of retail outlets over a two-storey building, following the establishment of partnerships with the likes of Costa Coffee, Post Office and WH Smith, as well as the AA for customer support.

The site is the first of over 100 Electric Forecourts being built by Grideserve over the next five years

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve, said: “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.”

The electric forecourt is part of Gridserve’s wider “sun-to-wheel” infrastructure, which harnesses clean energy sourced from one of the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farms at Clayhill in Bedfordshire.

The forecourt also features overhead solar canopies and a battery capable of storing enough energy to drive 24,000 miles. Grideserve said this will maximise the value of renewable energy resources, stabilise the grid, and keep prices low.

Electricity is generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers and a network of solar farms

Harper added: “Together with our solar farms and electric forecourts, Gridserve electric vehicle solutions completes our ‘sun-to-wheel’ infrastructure designed to deliver net-zero carbon transport from 2020 onwards.

“By including the planting of 100 trees for every electric vehicle leased through the service and providing net zero-carbon energy to charge all the vehicles, we’re making EV driving greener, cheaper and more straightforward than ever before.”

As previously reported by CiTTi, the project is being funded by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, Innovate UK and OZEV.

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