The UK’s first electric vehicle service station, known as the Electric Forecourt®, has been opened by GRIDSERVE today near Braintree, Essex, in southeast England.

UK’s first fully solar-powered electric vehicle service station

As Fully Charged‘s Robert Llewellyn detailed in a video in an exclusive visit to the station last week, Electric Forecourt features 36 rapid chargers powered by green energy. A typical charge from 20% to 80% capacity will cost under £10 ($13) for an average-size EV. (For comparison, it cost me around £60 ($80) to fill up my petrol Volkswagen Golf in the UK.)

Electricity is generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers and a network of hybrid solar farms, also operated by GRIDSERVE. The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm in Clay Hill is paired with Braintree Electric Forecourt. 

The station is the first of 100 electric facilities that GRIDSERVE and Hitachi Capital UK Plc. are planning. It’s part of a £1 billion ($1.35 billion) program to roll out more than 100 Electric Forecourt stations across the country over the next five years. 

GRIDSERVE adds:

There is also a 6 MWh battery onsite which helps to balance the local energy grid and shift energy to periods when it is more valuable. For example, on windy winter nights the battery can store enough energy to drive 24,000 miles in electric vehicles the following day, helping to maximize the value of renewable energy resources, stabilise the grid, and keep prices low.

Conveniences

Of course there are Tesla charging stations all over the UK, but what Electric Forecourt brings to Braintree are the same amenities that are at petrol and diesel rest stops with well-known retailers. Plus, it’s got that great bonus of being solar-powered.

The electric vehicle service station offers such conveniences as a Costa Coffee, a WH Smith newsagent, a post office, a wellbeing area with exercise bikes that generate electricity, business meeting room pods, and bathrooms.

Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of GRIDSERVE, said:

Charging has to be simple and free of anxiety, which is why we’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model for a net-zero carbon world and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today — a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars. 

Sales of fully electric vehicles in the UK rose 122% last month from 2019, according to vehicle data. That’s 10,345 versus 4,652.

Photos: GRIDSERVE

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