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UK to launch 100-plus electric forecourt network

Gridserve claims the forecourt’s superchargers can deliver up to 350kW of charging power, enabling people to charge vehicles within 20-30 minutes initially.

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The Braintree Electric Forecourt is scheduled to open this summer
The Braintree Electric Forecourt is scheduled to open this summer

The UK will see the first of a nationwide network of 100-plus electric forecourts open this summer. Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt near Braintree, Essex, which is under construction, will be able to charge 24 electric vehicles at once.

 

Gridserve claims the forecourt’s superchargers can deliver up to 350kW of charging power, enabling people to charge vehicles within 20-30 minutes initially, and much faster in the future as battery technologies mature.

 

£1 billion programme

 

As part of the £1 billion programme, Electric Forecourt sites will be located on busy routes and near powerful grid connections close to towns, cities and major transport hubs. Supporting the UK Government’s commitment to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles within 15 years, the company aims to have a UK-wide network operational within five years.

 

Gridserve is currently in discussions with a number of local authorities around the UK and expects to have several more sites in construction and many more into planning by the end of this year.

 

The network of Electric Forecourts will be powered by solar energy and battery storage, also constructed by Gridserve, ensuring carbon emission targets can be met, while also keeping prices low.

 

The facility will also function as an education centre for electric vehicles and sustainable energy, tol help people to understand, test-drive and secure vehicles that are most suitable for them, with the ultimate aim of providing the confidence to support to transition to an all-electric future.

 

It will also offer a range of other services, including an airport-style lounge with high-speed internet and meeting rooms.

 

“We’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future,” said Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve.

 

“Many more people want to buy electric vehicles but are worried about how to charge them. We will help solve that challenge and deliver the confidence needed to make the switch to electric transport.”

 

“We’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future”

 

Construction on the first Electric Forecourt on a 2.5-acre site adjacent to Great Notley is supported by a £4.86 million grant from Innovate UK. The site has links to Stansted Airport, Chelmsford, Colchester and the M11.

 

“Taking climate action is at the top of Essex County Council’s agenda and I intend to make Essex the most sustainable authority in the country,” said councillor Simon Walsh, cabinet member for environment and climate change action, Essex County Council.

 

He continued: “A rapid switch to electric vehicles is essential to respond to the climate emergency and improve public health by cleaning up our air, but it is being held back by lack of fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure.

 

"The Gridserve Electric Forecourt close to Braintree is pioneering a best-in-class new solution which will deliver businesses and private drivers the confidence to make the switch to sustainable transport.”

The forecourts will be powered by solar energy and battery storage projects
The forecourts will be powered by solar energy and battery storage projects

Gridserve is also developing several large solar farms, supported by batteries, to supply energy to its Electric Forecourts to ensure that 100 per cent of the electricity is clean and low cost.

 

The company recently completed the UK’s most advanced solar farm, a 34.7MWp project at York with bifacial panels, sun trackers and a 30MWh battery, and is completing a 25.7MWp project at Hull using similar technologies. It plans to develop Electric Forecourts at both sites powered by the solar produced on site.

 

“We want to accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, support UK climate and clean air targets and help the grid meet the challenges of the low carbon transition,” said Harper.

 

“We are interested in new project opportunities and are partnering with investors, developers, local authorities, EV manufacturers, retailers, fleet operators and others who share our vision.”

 

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