It has arrived! The Gridserve Electric Forecourt in Braintree, Essex, is the world’s first electric forecourt and charging your car is ‘fast, easy, and cheap’, its operator suggests. So, what does this facility have to offer? There is room for 36 vehicles to charge simultaneously, several types of charger, and a futuristic vibe. It feels a generational leap on from a standard fuel station.
What to expect
On approach, you see a large, futuristic, canopy that keeps the weather off your car. There is a gap in its centre so light can flood the forecourt. Beneath the canopy, there are 4 lanes for vehicles. The lanes have parking spaces marked by green/yellow lines. There is also an electric charger close to each parking bay.
Furthermore, there are overhead signs that direct you to the charger that suits your car. There are 12 DC chargers (up to 350kW), 12 DC chargers (up to 90kW), and 6 AC chargers (up to 22kW). There are also 6 Tesla superchargers (not under the canopy).
The cost to charge your vehicle is 24 pence per kWh (including VAT). This is the ‘lowest ultra-high power charging rate on the market’, Gridserve said. As such, the operator added, the battery in an ‘average size’ car can charge from 0% to 80% for less than £10. However, there is likely to be ‘tiered pricing’ at some point.
The Gridserve Electric Forecourt also has a hospitality building where you might eat, drink, shop, and relax. Further features include the kid’s area, business meeting room pods, and exercise bikes that generate electricity. Naturally, wi-fi is available too.
The electricity that charges your car can be sourced from solar energy to minimise the company’s impact on the environment. The canopy is entirely covered with solar panels, for starters. Additional power comes from ‘hybrid solar farms’, Gridserve revealed. It refers to this infrastructure as ‘sun-to-wheel’ and it can ‘deliver net zero-carbon energy to every car it charges’. Also:
- Gridserve plans to build more than 100 electric vehicle forecourts in the United Kingdom (over the next 5 years)
- the on-site building also ‘showcases’ electric cars and you can learn more about them via digital screens
- there are additional solar panels around much of the site’s perimeter
- you can wait for your vehicle to charge on a small, grassy area that has picnic tables
- the forecourt is on the A131 (just outside Braintree, Essex).