UK's first electric forecourt designed specifically for EVs opens for business

The UK’s first purpose-built “electric forecourt” has opened, offering rapid charging for up to 36 electric vehicles at a time.

The Gridserve site at Braintree, in Essex, is the first of its kind, designed specifically to meet the needs of the growing number of EV drivers.

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Its creators say it is the first in a planned £1 billion network of 100 similar facilities being built across the UK over the next five years as the UK moves towards a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles.

The site features 36 charging points capable of charging at up to 350kW, partly powered by solar panels which line the canopy roof. Drivers will pay 24p per kWh - which operators claim is the lowest ultra-high power charging rate on the market – meaning a typical charge from 20 to 80 per cent costs under £10 for an average-size electric vehicle. A tiered pricing structure will be introduced in future.

(Photo: Gridserve)(Photo: Gridserve)
(Photo: Gridserve)

The site, on the A131, also features a modern service station with waiting facilities, meeting rooms, a children’s play area, EV information zone and the usual selection of retailers.

Toddington Harper, founder and CEO of Gridserve, said: “Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving Gridserve’s purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.

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“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.”

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Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean, added: “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 site is being operated as part of Gridserve’s “sun-to-wheel” infrastructure, which aims to deliver net zero carbon energy to every vehicle that uses one of GRIDSERVE’s chargers. As well as the on-site solar panels, electricity is generated by a network of hybrid solar farms, and a six mWh battery on site helps to balance the local energy grid and shift energy to periods when it is more valuable.