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Electric vehicle forecourt first
Gridserve is to soon open what it is calling the world’s first Electric Forecourt, located at Braintree, Essex, UK.
Household brands including WHSmith, Costa Coffee, the Post Office, Booths, and Gourmade, together with technology partners Tesla, ABB and the AA have joined forces with Gridserve to deliver a “world class” customer experience of the future’.
The vision is to make electric vehicle (EV) charging as simple and stress free as using petrol stations, but with a radically improved customer experience, designed for the modern age, according to Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of Gridserve.
Up to 30 electric vehicles can be charged simultaneously with high power chargers that will enable people to add 200 miles of range in just 20 minutes, and much faster in the future as battery technologies within the cars mature.
While vehicles charge, drivers will be able to relax and shop in a state-of-the-art facility that will cater for all their needs. The two-story building houses a waiting lounge, free superfast Wi-Fi, high-end washrooms, a dedicated kid's area, wellbeing area and business meeting room pods. On the ground floor, a comprehensive retail space includes a coffee shop, convenience supermarket, as well as fresh and frozen food.
The AA will be providing customer support via a dedicated team of electric vehicle experts. Drivers will be able to call a dedicated helpline from each supercharger and receive industry-leading advice on any technical questions related to the charger or even their vehicle.
Some 24 of the high-power chargers – half of which can deliver up to 350 kW of power – are provided by ABB, and will be able to charge every EV on the market today. In addition, there are six Tesla superchargers specifically for Tesla vehicles.
More than 100 further sites are to be built in the UK in the next five years, at a cost of £1bn. The next two are expected to be located in Norwich and Uckfield.
The network will be powered by zero carbon solar energy and battery storage projects, ensuring carbon emission targets can be met, whilst also keeping prices low, says Gridserve. To achieve this, the company is developing several large solar farms, supported by grid-scale batteries, as part of its ‘Sun-to-Wheel’ initiative to ensure that 100% of the electricity used at its forecourts is renewable and, from the grid’s perspective, sustainable. It recently acquired the UK's first subsidy-free solar farm – the Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire.