The company behind Britain’s first EV-focused service station has revealed details of the new facility it claims will revolutionise roadside services.
Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt will feature shops from well-known brands including WH Smith and Costa Coffee, business meeting spaces, a children’s play area and even an EV education centre as well as ultra-rapid charging for up to 30 vehicles at a time.
The site near Braintree, Essex is intended to be the first in a £1 billion series of 100 service sites combining the latest EV charging infrastructure with what Gridserve claims will be a “radically improved” experience for customers.
Toddington Harper, founder and CEO of Gridserve, said: “Our UK-wide network of over 100 customer-focused Electric 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 so much more than an electric equivalent of a modern petrol station – it 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.”
The Braintree site, which is due to open in November features 24 350kW ultra-rapid chargers. In compatible vehicles these can add up to 200 miles of range in less than half an hour, although only the Porsche Taycan currently supports such high-power charging, with other vehicles charging at more common 50kW or 100kW standards.
The site also features six Tesla Superchargers, specifically for owners of the American EVs, in a pattern that will be repeated at future Electric Forecourt facilities.
Alongside the charging stations, the new facility will feature stores from well-know brands including WHSmith, Costa Coffee, Post Office, Booths supermarkets, and Gourmade. The two-story building also houses a waiting lounge with free superfast wifi, a dedicated children's area, business meeting room pods and a “wellbeing area”.
There will also be an EV information centre and the AA has partnered with Gridserve to provide assistance to EV owners at the site.
Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, which is helping finance the project, said: “Our partnership with Gridserve is revolutionising energy and transport, accelerating us towards a zero emissions future. Flagship projects like the Braintree Electric Forecourt are the essential infrastructure needed to fast-track the electric vehicle revolution in the UK and prepare for a zero-carbon future.”
Gridserve aims to ensure that all the electricity used to charge vehicles at its sites is renewable and is developing several large solar farms to support this.
Toddington Harper added: “It’s our collective responsibility to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change. By delivering a series of hybrid solar farms in tandem with our Electric Forecourt rollout, we can ensure that every kWh of energy used to charge EVs is matched from 100 per cnet renewable, zero carbon energy sources.”