GRIDSERVE opens first solar-powered fully electric vehicle service station in Braintree, Essex
The United Kingdom’s first fully solar-powered electric vehicle service station called the Electric Forecourt, which is situated close to Braintree in southeast England, has been thrown open to the public by GRIDSERVE.
The Electric Forecourt features 36 rapid EV chargers powered by clean and green energy. A typical charge from 20 per cent to 80 per cent capacity cost the user less than £10 (US$13) for an average-size EV. For the sake of comparison, it may be noted here that its costs nearly £60 (US$80) to fill up a petrol-powered Volkswagen Golf.
The facility is equipped with solar power canopies that are used to generate electricity from sunlight. In addition to the solar power canopies, the facility’s chargers get electricity from a network of hybrid solar farms that are operated by GRIDSERVE. The country’s first subsidy-free solar farm, which is situated in Clay Hill area, has been paired with Braintree Electric Forecourt to ensure adequate supply of electricity.
GRIDSERVE, in partnership with Hitachi Capital UK Plc, has planned to create more than 100 EV charging facilities across the country; and the Braintree Electric Forecourt is the very first of them. It is part of a £1 billion (US$1.35 billion) program that has been designed to create a massive network of EV charging stations across the country by 2025.
In addition, the facility has been equipped with a 6-MWh battery that will help in balancing the local energy grid and shift energy to periods of uncertainty, such as windy winter nights.
Describing the arrangement for an emergency, GRIDSERVE said, “There is also a 6-MWh battery onsite which helps to balance the local energy grid and shift energy to periods when it is more valuable. For example, on windy winter nights the battery can store enough energy to drive 24,000 miles in electric vehicles…”
The utility added that the massive battery would help maximize the value of renewable energy resources, stabilize the grid, and keep EV charging prices low.
GRIDSERVE Founder & CEO Toddington Harper added that the innovative Electric Forecourts were designed to make the whole process of charging EVs uncomplicated and free of anxiety, which is necessary for transforming the conventional petrol station model into a net-zero carbon world to deliver the confidence required to make the switch to electric transport.
In addition to EV chargers, the Braintree Electric Forecourt service station offers Costa Coffee, washrooms, a WH Smith newsagent, a post office, business meeting room pods, and a wellbeing area equipped with exercise bikes that generate electricity.