Gridserve has started construction on its network of 100 electric vehicle charging forecourts with the first due to be complete in Braintree, Essex this summer.
Construction on the first Electric Forecourt on a 2.5 acre site adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131, is supported by a £4.86 million grant from Innovate UK.
The first Forecourt will have space for 24 EVs 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.
Gridserve confirmed that the network, which is being funded with £1 billion of investment, will be powered by its own solar energy farms and battery storage projects. It hopes all 100 Forecourts will be operational within five years.
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. York and Hull have been earmarked as the next locations to begin construction, as these are locations where Gridserve has already established its own solar energy farms.
The first Braintree site will feature a storey building on site that will feature a coffee shop, convenience supermarket, and airport-style lounge with high-speed internet and meeting rooms for customers to use while their vehicle is charging.
The facility will also function as an education centre for electric vehicles and sustainable energy, which will help people to understand, test drive, and secure vehicles that are most suitable for them.
Toddington Harper, chief executive and founder of Gridserve, said: “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 EVs 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.”
Cllr 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 Electric Forecourt is pioneering a best-in-class new solution which will deliver businesses and private drivers the confidence to make the switch to sustainable transport.”