First electric only forecourt opens

Gridserve has opened the UK’s first Electric Forecourt near Braintree, Essex, the first site of a proposed 100 being built over the next five years.

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. Gridserve’s ‘Electric Forecourt’, close to Braintree, 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.”

The Braintree forecourt, adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131, enables 36 electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously, with high power chargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of charging power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in 20 minutes, and much faster in the future as electric vehicle battery technologies mature. Together with Gridserve, the project has been funded by Hitachi Capital (UK), Innovate UK and OZEV.

Part of Gridserve’s wider ‘sun-to-wheel’ infrastructure with electricity generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers, and a network of hybrid solar farms. The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm in Clay Hill is paired with the Braintree forecourt providing 100 per cent renewable energy via the National Grid. There is also a 6 MWh battery onsite which helps to balance the local energy grid and shift energy to periods when it is more valuable. For example, on windy winter nights the battery can store enough energy to drive 24,000 miles in electric vehicles the following day, helping to maximise the value of renewable energy resources, stabilise the grid, and keep prices low.

Gridserve and Hitachi Capital plan to offer electric vehicles from all major vehicle manufacturers. At the time of launch, available brands include Audi, BMW, DS, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Mini, Nissan, Renault, and Volkswagen.

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