UK’s first EV charging forecourt opens in Essex
Image credit: Gridserve
The UK’s first dedicated car-charging forecourt has opened near Braintree in Essex. The site is the first of over a hundred 'electric forecourts' being built by Gridserve over the next five years.
The Government recently brought forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030. Meeting this goal will require – among other changes – a massive expansion in charging infrastructure to support the mass adoption of EVs.
Gridserve aims to roll out its 'sun-to-wheel' infrastructure in order to deliver low-cost, net-zero carbon energy to EVs; this involves building more than 100 EV charging forecourts all across the UK.
Electricity is generated from the solar power canopies installed above the chargers and from a network of hybrid solar farms also operated by the company. There is also a 6MWh battery onsite to help balance the local energy grid and maximise the value of renewable energy resources.
Charging at Gridserve’s forecourt will initially pay 24p per kWh of energy, meaning that a typical charge from 20 per cent to 80 per cent will cost under £10 for an average EV on the market today. The company is planning to introduce a tiered pricing structure in the future.
“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving Gridserve’s purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change,” said company founder and CEO Toddington Harper. “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 from electric transport today – a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.”
James Cleverley, minister of state and MP for Braintree, commented: “Our government is committed to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles, to clean our air and enable us to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, which is why we have just brought forward the ban on new petrol or diesel to 2030. Gridserve’s electric forecourt, close to Braintree, is the most advanced charging facility in the world and is pioneering the world-class infrastructure required to support our policies and drive the confidence we need to make the move to sustainable transport in the UK.”
The site will enable 36 EVs to be charged simultaneously. Its chargers can deliver up to 350kW of power, enabling drivers to add 200 miles (320km) of range in just 20 minutes.
The forecourt offers a waiting lounge, washrooms, exercise space, business meeting pods, a children’s area, and shops for drivers to use while their vehicles charge. Its upper floor will be used to showcase the latest EVs.
Anila Siraj, head of data strategy at Kalibrate, commented: “We mustn’t downplay the significance of Britain’s first ever electric forecourt opening today in Braintree, Essex. It’s a small but necessary step that we need to take as the nation prepares for a world of EVs. And with 100 more sites set to open over the coming five years, the challenge for the UK government will be ensuring that the infrastructure and network is in place to support mainstream EV adoption.”
“The introduction of Tesla and subsequent cheaper EV alternatives from car manufacturers edged us into this new generation of travel. However, it’s not as simple as just buying the cars and introducing electric forecourts - effective implementation of EV infrastructure will take time and planning. We first need confidence in the charging network so that switching from diesel and petrol to electric is natural and doesn’t impact the customer’s daily life.”
“The numbers alone are astonishing: we would need to build 4,000 individual charging points every day between now and 2030 to make the government’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution viable.”
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