UK’s first forecourt for only electric cars opens

PA

The UK’s first forecourt just for charging electric cars opens on Monday to launch a £1 billion nationwide rollout.

Up to 36 cars can be recharged simultaneously at the site in Braintree, Essex.

There is a waiting lounge, meeting room pods and electricity-generating exercise bikes for motorists to use while their car batteries are being topped up.

More than 100 of the electric forecourts are planned in a nationwide rollout (Jeff Spicer/PA)
More than 100 of the electric forecourts are planned in a nationwide rollout (Jeff Spicer/PA)

A retail space includes a WHSmith, Costa Coffee and Post Office.

Start-up firm Gridserve, which built the electric forecourt, said its chargers use net zero carbon energy by utilising solar power.

It plans to open more than 100 of the charging stations across the UK over the next five years in a £1 billion programme.

Gridserve founder and chief executive Toddington Harper claimed the project will help “move the needle on climate change”.

He said: “It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution.

“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.”

Last month, Boris Johnson brought forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2030 as part of his “green industrial revolution”.

Concerns have been raised about whether the charging infrastructure will be able to support the subsequent rise in electric vehicles.

James Cleverly, a Government minister and MP for Braintree, said: “Our Government is committed to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles, to clean our air and enable us to achieve net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, which is why we have just brought forward the ban on new petrol or diesel to 2030.

“Gridserve’s electric forecourt, close to Braintree, is the most advanced charging facility in the world and is pioneering the world-class infrastructure required to support our policies and drive the confidence we need to make the move to sustainable transport in the UK.”

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