Construction begins on ‘UK’s first’ vehicle charging station in Essex

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Electric forecourt,

The first of a nationwide network of over 100 ‘electric forecourts’ is now under construction to deliver fast, low-cost vehicle charging

The electric forecourt® near Braintree in Essex can charge 24 electric vehicles at once with superchargers that can deliver up to 350kW of charging power, enabling people to charge vehicles within 20-30 minutes initially, and much faster in the future as battery technologies mature.

The network of electric forecourts will be powered by clean, zero-carbon solar energy and battery storage projects, and constructed by Gridserve.

Whilst vehicles charge, drivers will be able to relax or shop in a state of the art two-storey building, which will house a range of facilities including a coffee shop, convenience supermarket, and airport-style lounge with high-speed internet and meeting rooms.

The facility will also function as an education centre for electric vehicles and sustainable energy.

Increasing electric vehicles

James Cleverly, 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 by 2050.

“Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt®, close to Braintree, is pioneering the world-class charging infrastructure that we need to support our policies and will inspire people in towns and cities throughout the country to have the confidence to make the move to sustainable transport”.

As part of its £1bn programme, Gridserve is developing more than 100 electric forecourt sites on busy routes and near powerful grid connections close to towns, cities and major transport hubs.

The company is currently in discussions with a number of local authorities around the UK and expects to have several more sites in construction and many more into planning by the end of this year.

Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, commented: “We’ve designed our Electric Forecourts® entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future.

“Many more people want to buy electric vehicles but are worried about how to charge them. We will help solve that challenge and deliver the confidence needed to make the switch to electric transport.

“This will be the most advanced charging facility in the UK, and possibly the world. Drivers will be able to turn up and charge their vehicle at the fastest rate each vehicle can support, using 100% renewable energy, and with the best possible charging experience.”

Construction on the first electric forecourt on a 2.5-acre site adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131, is supported by a £4.86m grant from Innovate UK, one of the largest awarded last year.

Climate emergency action

Councillor Simon Walsh, cabinet member for environment & climate change action, Essex County Council, said: “Taking climate action is at the top of Essex County Council’s agenda and I intend to make Essex the most sustainable authority in the country. A rapid switch to electric vehicles is essential to respond to the climate emergency and improve public health by cleaning up our air, but it is being held back by lack of fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure.

“The Gridserve Electric Forecourt® close to Braintree is pioneering a best-in-class new solution which will deliver businesses and private drivers the confidence to make the switch to sustainable transport.”

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