Electrical Essex: UK Debuts Electric Charging Forecourt

The UK’s first electric-only forecourt has opened last week near Braintree, Essex, signalling a breakthrough for the mass expansion of the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Gridserve, the energy firm behind the project, said it plans to open more than 100 of the charging stations across the UK over the next five years.

Its chargers use net zero-carbon energy by utilising solar power sourced from one of the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farms at Clayhill, Bedfordshire. The forecourt has a battery that is capable of storing enough energy to drive 24,000 miles.

Toddington Harper, the founder of Gridserve, ensured that the forecourt is a major milestone in the company’s goal to move the needle on climate change.

He said: “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 simplicity that charging necessitates explains why they have designed the electric forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today.

The development has been welcomed by the UK Government, which last month brought forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans as part of the green industrial revolution.

James Cleverly, Braintree MP, said via ITV: “Our government is committed to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles to clean our environment and enable us to achieve zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.

“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 Electric Forecourt allows 36 electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously with high-power chargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in 20 minutes.

Drivers will initially pay just 24p per kWh of energy which is currently the lowest power charging rate on the market today – meaning a typical charge from 20 percent to 80 percent costs under £10 for an average size electric vehicle on the market today.