Gridserve opens UK’s first electric forecourt

Charging firm Gridserve has announced the UK’s first electric forecourt has opened in Braintree, Essex.

The site is the first of over 100 such forecourta to be built by the firm in the next five years, providing confidence that the UK will have the charging infrastructure required for mass EV adoption well ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

The company’s £1bn UK-wide programme aims to make EV driving convenient and reduce ‘range anxiety’ – one of the big barriers to adoption of such vehicles.

The Braintree site, just off the A131, enables 36 electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously. High power chargers deliver up to 350 kW of charging power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in 20 minutes.

Alongside Gridserve, the project was funded by Hitachi Capital, Innovate UK and OZEV.

Drivers charging at the forecourt will initially pay just 24p per kWh of energy – meaning a typical charge from 20% to 80% costs under £10 for an average-size electric vehicle on the market today. To deliver additional flexibility, Gridserve also have plans to introduce a tiered pricing structure in the future.

An adjacent retail space hosts partners including WHSmith Travel, Costa Coffee, Booths, Post Office, and Gourmade. The facility also includes a waiting lounge, free superfast WiFi, high-end washrooms, dedicated kid’s area, wellbeing area with exercise bikes that generate electricity, and business meeting room pods.

James Cleverly, Minister of State, former Conservative Party Chairman and MP for Braintree said: “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.

“The forecourt 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.”

Toddington Harper, Founder and 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.”

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