The UK’s first ‘electric forecourt’ will open in November, offering charging for 30 vehicles, plus a building offering food, shops and an electric vehicle education centre.
Gridserve’s new site, near Braintree, Essex, will have chargers rated at up to 350kW, and the firm has signed agreements with WH Smith, Costa, Post Office and food retailer Booths to create what CEO Toddington Harper describes as being like “a high-end petrol forecourt”. Above the shops will sit an education centre and a lounge with free Wi-fi, meeting pods and a wellness centre, featuring exercise bikes which can generate electricity.
Harper says the site will be capable of charging any electric vehicle on the road at whatever speed they are capable of accepting. The site’s chargers are supplied by ABB, and comprise of 12 350kW (CCS), 12 90kW (CCS and CHAdeMO), and six Type 2 22kW AC chargers. These are paid for on a plug and charge basis. In addition, there will be six Tesla Superchargers.
Gridserve says that it has capacity to ensure all chargers can run at their maximum rate simultaneously.
While the cost per kilowatt is yet to be announced, it will be “competitive”. Harper says there will be levels of cost, suggesting that frequent users could sign up for deals to cut the cost of charging. An app will launch allowing motorists to book chargers, and even jump the queue if they need a quick charge to get them on their way.
Harper says the set-up is designed to provide confidence to electric vehicle drivers and deliver fast charging at scale. He said: “We want to enable the masses to move to electric vehicles. People just want to use their car, and not be daunted. This is designed to work for the masses”.