The first All-Electric forecourt opens in Braintree, Essex, capable of charging 36 electric vehicles
Gridserve are the company responsible for the new electric charging station in Essex, with their website proudly stating "Gridserve is pioneering sustainable energy solutions that are kinder to your wallet and kinder to our world." With the UK Government's plans to ban the sale on diesel and petrol engines by 2030, a major concern amongst British motorists was charging locations when it comes to plan long journeys. Charging at the new Gridserve forecourt take approximately 20-30 minutes and costs around 24p per kWh - in practical terms, this costs approximately £10 to charge your average electric car from 20% to 80%.
There are several different charger options available, depending on the type of electric car that you own. These rang from 7 kWh chargers to 22 kWh chargers suitable for your average electric car. Included at the site are also 6 Tesla Superchargers specific to Tesla cars, allowing them to charger at a much quicker rate. There are also 90 kWh rapid chargers available, and even huge 350 kWh chargers. However, currently the only car capable of using the 350 kWh device is the brand new Porsche Taycan supercar.
Whilst charging can take 20-30 minutes, thus significantly longer than traditional methods of 'filling up' your car, there is the obvious question of what to do with all that time. The Gridserve forecourt boast a modern and trendy looking building, beyond we what we currently expect at a services. Inside, customers will find a Costa Coffee, Post Office, WH Smiths and even an up market store - Booths. Gridserve have gone that one step further, offering free superfast WiFi, a waiting lounge, a dedicated children's waiting area, rooms for business meetings and a "well-being zone" containing exercise bikes that generate electricity!!
Gridserve have a net-zero carbon commitment. The forecourt and electricity it supplies is generated through the solar panels seen on the roof of the forecourt and building. Additionally, they have a 60 acre solar farm in Clay Hill, Bedfordshire. This alone is capable of producing a tremendous 10 gWh a year. This is enough to power 5,000 electric vehicles a year. The energy is stored on-site utilising 6 megawatt-hour batteries. In order to keep in line with their net-zero carbon commitment, Gridserve have stated that if they have to import energy from the National Grid, they will resupply it with green energy.
Gridserve have also partnered up with Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, one of the UK's biggest leasing funders to provide a complete leasing package with the ultimate aim of bringing the overall cost of driving and leasing an electric vehicle below that of a combustion engine. Gridserve have said that they will plant 100 trees for every electric vehicle leased through the service.