Gridserve has partnered with Hitachi Capital (UK) to launch an electric vehicle (EV) leasing business, called Gridserve Electric Vehicle Solutions.
The service, which launched as Gridserve opened its first Electric Forecourt in Braintree, is designed to bring the cost of driving electric below that of petrol or diesel cars and will allow customers to charge at Gridserve's Electric Forecourts without paying any additional costs
Initially, electric vehicles from Audi, BMW, DS, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Mini, Nissan, Renault and Volkswagen are available, with plans to add all major vehicle manufacturers.
To further reduce the environmental impact of EVs, Gridserve has partnered with a tree planting organisation, with will plant 100 trees for every electric vehicle leased through the service.
This helps to minimise the carbon emissions from supply chain processes, such as manufacturing.
Toddington Harper, founder and CEO of Gridserve, said: “Together with our solar farms and Electric Forecourts, Gridserve Electric Vehicle Solutions completes our ‘sun-to-wheel’ infrastructure designed to deliver net zero carbon transport from 2020 onwards.
“By including the planting of 100 trees for every electric vehicle leased through the service and providing net zero carbon energy to charge all the vehicles, we’re making EV driving greener, cheaper and more straightforward than ever before.”
Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital (UK), said: “Our partnership with Gridserve is a total game-changer for electric mobility.
“Not only are we providing electric vehicles at some of the most competitive rates on the market, but we are at the same time developing a network of rapid, reliable and renewably powered Electric Forecourts that will fast-track the electric vehicle revolution in the UK as we prepare for a zero-carbon future.”
More than 100 Electric Forecourts in £1 billion programme
Braintree is the first of more than 100 Electric Forecourts being built by Gridserve over the next five years as part of a £1 billion programme.
Together with Gridserve, it was funded by Hitachi Capital (UK), Innovate UK and OZEV.
Smart Transport member ABB was selected to supply the high power EV charging infrastructure at the Braintree Electric Forecourt.
Electricity is generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers and a network of hybrid solar farms, also operated by Gridserve.
Drivers charging at the Electric Forecourt will initially pay 24p per kWh of energy (including VAT), meaning a typical charge from 20% to 80% costs under £10 for an average-size electric vehicle on the market today.
Gridserve plans to introduce a tiered pricing structure in the future.
While vehicles charge, drivers can visit a range of shops on site, including WHSmith Travel, Costa Coffee, Booths, Post Office, and Gourmad.
The facility also includes a waiting lounge, free wi-fi, washrooms, dedicated children’s area, wellbeing area with exercise bikes that generate electricity, and business meeting room pods.