The only way is electric: Gridserve eyes Essex site for first of 100 EV charging stations
Plans for the first in a 100-strong pipeline of new dedicated electric vehicle (EV) charging forecourts around the UK have been unveiled by Gridserve, with the company predicting drivers will be able to power up a typical EV at its first site in Essex in less than half an hour.
Forming part of its proposed £1bn UK-wide programme first announced in March, the green energy tech firm confirmed yesterday it has submitted a planning application for an EV charging station comprised of 24 ultra-fast charging bays in Braintree, Essex.
Located next to a business park near Great Notley, the ‘Electric Forecourt’ will offer the “world’s fastest charging rates” with dedicated spaces for both private and fleet vehicles, such as taxis, buses, delivery vehicles and heavy goods trucks, the firm said.
Much like services offered at traditional petrol stations, the forecourt also includes plans for a coffee shop, convenience supermarket, and an “airport-style lounge” with high-speed internet, which Gridserve said would additionally serve as an EV education centre.
The site will also benefit from grid infrastructure and its own solar panels in order to deliver clean power to vehicles, offering 350kW chargers for electric cars with options to upgrade to 500kW for buses and trucks, explained Gridserve.
Meanwhile, a queuing system for cars wishing to power up at the site is also envisaged to help minimise waiting times, with plans for an upgrade in future that could allow drivers to book a charging bay in advance.
Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, said the Braintree Electric Forecourt would provide “convenient, ultra-fast and low-cost charging for every electric vehicle on the market today”, offering consumer prices competitive with home charging.
“A large number of affordable EVs are coming to-market, and we’re about to see a steep growth curve in EV adoption,” he said, adding that the facility would help tackle air pollution, encourage low-carbon transport, and meet climate targets “while also offering a solution that’s future proofed to support the mass uptake of electric vehicles”.
The move comes amid widespread concern the lack of EV charging infrastructure in the UK could hamper uptake of EVs as ‘range anxiety’ results in motorists delaying their switch to plug-in vehicles, even as new EV models emerge the cost of owning and operating battery cars falls.
Gridserve plans to submit further planning applications for similar EV charging forecourt facilities at more than 100 additional sites already secured “on busy routes, near powerful grid connections close to towns, cities, and major transport hubs across the country”. The company said it expected to announce similar projects close to two of its solar farms in York and Hull for the coming months.
And, if location allows, the firm also hopes to build new solar farms adjacent to as many of the 100 planned EV forecourts as possible in order to provide direct clean electricity supply to the charging bays.
“Every site will be powered by batteries and supplied by solar energy,” explained Harper. “With convenient, dependable, ultra-fast charging, we’re making charging an EV as easy as using petrol stations.”
Gridserve is part of a growing trend that has seen a host of companies unveil new EV charging infrastructure plans. For example, ambitious start up Pivot Power is working on similar proposals for a network of fast chargers and energy storage sites, while both Shell and BP are pursuing plans to installing charging infrastructure at many of their existing petrol stations. Meanwhile, a large number of energy and infrastructure firms are working on deploying both fast and conventional chargers at homes, offices, supermarkets, service stations, and other key locations.