First ‘electric forecourt’ due to open next month

One of the first electric forecourts is nearing completion in Braintree, Essex, according to the firm behind the project, Gridserve.

The forecourt, which will offer a retail experience while customers wait for their electric vehicles to charge, is due to open in November.

The forecourt will be the first of more than 100 sites to be built by Gridserve in the next five years, as part of a £1bn programme to help make EV driving accessible.

Gridserve has financed the project with Hitachi Capital UK PLC and Innovate UK with the scheme having the ability to charge 30 electric vehicles simultaneously with high power chargers delivering up to 350kW of charging power, adding 200 miles of range in 20 minutes.

The forecourt also includes retail from WH Smith, Costa, the Post Office, Booths and Gourmade with technology from Tesla, ABB and the AA.

Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of Gridserve, said: “Our forecourts will eliminate range and charging anxiety by making it easier and cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than to fuel a petrol or diesel alternative. The UK’s first electric forecourt represents will deliver a fully loaded customer experience, offering the best of British retail and customer service to cater for a full range of consumer and driver needs.”

Toby Keir, Managing Director at WHSmith Travel said: “It’s a great concept and we look forward to playing our part over the next hundred years with the future of electric cars.”

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, said: “Our partnership with GRIDSERVE is revolutionising energy and transport, accelerating us towards a zero emissions future. Flagship projects like the Braintree forecourt are the essential infrastructure needed to fast-track the electric vehicle revolution in the UK and prepare for a zero-carbon future.”

In combination with GRIDSERVE, customer support will be provided by the AA via a dedicated team of electric vehicle experts. Drivers will be able to call a dedicated helpline from each supercharger and receive industry-leading advice on any technical questions related to the charger or even their vehicle.

Edmund King OBE, President at the AA, added: “The UK’s first electric forecourt is an incredibly exciting project, pioneering the future of electric vehicle charging.”

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