The UK’s first electric vehicle recharging forecourt has opened near Braintree, with the company behind it promising over 100 more over the next five years.

The first Gridserve site, just off the A131 at Great Notley, has capacity to charge 36 electric vehicles at once at up to 350kW of charging power, initially at a cost of 24p per kWh, although the company has said it will introduce a tiered payment structure in the future.

The new site’s facilities include a WH Smiths, Costa Coffee, Booths supermarket and a Post Office, as well as a waiting lounge with free superfast wifi, washrooms, business meeting pods, a children’s play area and a wellbeing area with exercise bikes that generate electricity.

Gridserve EV charging Braintree 2020§“It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by Gridserve energy represent a large part of the solution,” said Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of Gridserve. “However, charging has to be simple and free of anxiety, which is why we’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model for a net-zero carbon world and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today – a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.”

Energy for the site comes in part from solar canopies above the chargers, as well as Gridserve’s network of hybrid solar farms, with the company aiming to supply “low-cost net-zero carbon energy to every vehicle” that uses one of its chargers.

Gridserve has also combined with Hitachi Capital to launch what it claimed is the UK’s first net zero electric vehicle leasing business, designed to “bring the cost of driving electric well below that of petrol or diesel cars and minimising the environmental impact of EVs”.

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