British company Gridserve announced this week that its first massive EV charging station, called "Electric Forecourt", is now under construction near Braintree, Essex.

The site will be opened in Summer 2020 and offer 24 fast charging stands with a power output of up to 350 kW per single car.

"The first site is being built on a 2.5-acre site adjacent to Great Notley in Essex, just off the A131, and is supported by a £4.86 million grant from Innovate UK. It has links to Stansted Airport, Chelmsford, Colchester and the M11."

"The Electric Forecourt®near Braintree, Essex, can charge 24 electric vehicles 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. The network of Electric Forecourts® will be powered by clean, zero carbon solar energy and battery storage projects, also constructed by GRIDSERVE®, ensuring carbon emission targets can be met, whilst also keeping prices low."

The plan is to install more than 100 Electric Forecourts across the UK within five years, which sounds pretty bold. At least several will enter the construction phase by the end of this year.

The prices were not yet disclosed, but are promised to be competitive.

Besides charging, Electric Forecourts will offer also "a coffee shop, supermarket, high-speed internet and everything else you would expect to find at a service station" plus an education center.

"The Electric Forecourts – which are to be built on busy routes and near powerful grid connections close to towns, cities and major transport hubs – will be powered by renewable energy derived from solar panels and other battery storage projects.

To pass the time while their cars are charging – a full top-up takes roughly 30 minutes for current EVs with rapid charging capability – drivers will be able to make use of a two-storey building on site with a coffee shop, supermarket, high-speed internet and everything else you would expect to find at a service station.

In addition, the building will feature an education centre, providing information about electric vehicles and sustainable energy, with the aim of improving consumer confidence in such technologies."

Gallery: Gridserve fast charging infrastructure

James Cleverly, Minister of State and MP for Braintree, commented:

“Our Government is committed to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles to clean our air and enable us to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt, close to Braintree, is pioneering the world-class charging infrastructure that we need to support our policies and will inspire people in towns and cities throughout the country to have the confidence to make the move to sustainable transport”.

Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, added:

“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 electric vehicles 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.

“This will be the most advanced charging facility in the UK and possibly the world. Drivers will be able to turn up and charge their vehicle at the fastest rate each vehicle can support, using 100 per cent renewable energy, and with the best possible charging experience.”

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