Britain’s first charging station dedicated to electric cars has opened to customers today.
Gridseve’s pioneering Electric Forecourt is located near Braintree, Essex, and is the first of 100 sites to be built across the country in the next five years as part of a £1billion nationwide programme.
The one-stop-shop for electric car owners features 36 EV chargers and a services building featuring ‘best of British’ retailers, including WH Smiths and the Post Office.
The aim is to provide a reliable and comprehensive network of charging stations to supply the growing number of electric vehicle drivers.
With Boris Johnson rubber-stamping a ban for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, already surging demand for EVs is set to sky-rocket in the next decade and beyond.
However, among the major concerns with electric vehicle ownership is range anxiety and the lack of charging infrastructure.
Grideserve says it will ease that burden with the proposal of building over 100 of these sites across Britain in the next five years.
Speaking at the grand opening of the Braintree site, Toddington Harper, founder and chief executive of Gridserve – and who also claims to be named after Toddington Services in Bedfordshire – said: ‘Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving Gridserve’s purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.
‘It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution.’
At the groundbreaking location – which is adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131 and with links to Stansted Airport, Chelmsford, Colchester and the busy M11 motorway – is 36 charging devices in total.
They range from 7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) devices to 22kWh chargers suitable for the likes of the Renault Zoe and there are also six Tesla Superchargers.
In addition, there are 90kW rapid chargers and even 350kW devices.
The only vehicle capable of accepting charge from the latter system is the Porsche Taycan electric sports car, but Gridserve says the inclusion of the devices will ‘future-proof’ the site.
The powerful devices should replenish the batteries of the latest plug-in models in between 20 and 30 minutes – in which time drivers can head into a state-of-the-art building with shops including a Costa Coffee, WH Smith and Booths high-end supermarket.
The facility also includes a waiting lounge, free superfast WiFi, high-end washrooms, dedicated kid’s area, a well-being zone with exercise bikes that generate electricity, and business meeting room pods.
It will also be used as an educational centre for electric vehicles, with a number of models on site for visitors to poke around.
Drivers can pay for electricity at the forecourt using their debit or credit card. The initial cost will be 24p per kWh of charging, which is currently the lowest ultra-high power charging rate on the market.
It means a typical charge from 20 per cent battery capacity to 80 per cent costs under £10 for the average electric vehicle.
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