MP visits the UK’s first electric vehicle charging forecourt in the UK, being built at Great Notley

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 September 2020

Robert Gordon of Hitachi (UK) PLC, Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper and James Cleverly MP at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's office

Robert Gordon of Hitachi (UK) PLC, Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper and James Cleverly MP at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's office

James Cleverly's office

The UK’s first Electric Forecourt is being built at Great Notley and is expected to open in November.

James Cleverly MP, Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper and Robert Gordon of Hitachi (UK) PLC at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's officeJames Cleverly MP, Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper and Robert Gordon of Hitachi (UK) PLC at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's office

Gridserve’s electric vehicle forecourt is next to the new Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park, just off the A131.

It is the first of 100 they have planned for around the country, at a cost of £1bn. They are being financed by the company together with Hitachi Capital UK PLC and by central government investment through Innovate UK.

Gridserve aims to have the full UK-wide network operational within five years. It aims to make charging an electric vehicle as easy as using petrol stations.

Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper and James Cleverly MP at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's officeGridserve CEO Toddington Harper and James Cleverly MP at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's office

Thirty cars will be able to charge simultaneously, with chargers that can deliver up to 350kW of charging power in 20 minutes. This is expected to be faster in future as battery technologies improve.

Gridserve is developing several large solar farms, supported by grid-scale batteries, as part of its Sun-to-Wheel initiative to ensure that all electricity used at its forecourts is renewable and sustainable.

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The company recently acquired the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm – Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire.

James Cleverly MP and Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's officeJames Cleverly MP and Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper at the Gridserve Electric forecourt in Braintree. Picture: James Cleverly MP's office

While vehicles charge, drivers can visit shops, an electric vehicle showroom, use business meeting room pods, a post office and a picnic area on the site.

MP James Cleverly visited the site on Friday and watched as the first of the solar panels were fixed into place on the forecourt.

He said it was a “fantastic example” of central government investment through Innovate UK, local government investment by Braintree District Council and private sector investment by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC.

Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, said: “The UK’s first Electric Forecourt represents so much more than an electric equivalent of a modern petrol station – it will deliver a fully loaded customer experience, offering the best of British retail and customer service to cater for a full range of consumer and driver needs.”

Some 24 of Electric Forecourt’s high power chargers are provided by Swiss-Swedish technology giant ABB, and will be able to charge every electric vehicle on the market.

In addition, there are six Tesla Superchargers.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, said: “Flagship projects like the Braintree Electric Forecourt are the essential infrastructure needed to fast-track the electric vehicle revolution in the UK and prepare for a zero-carbon future.”


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