Future of fuelling – we visit the UK’s first all-electric forecourt for electric cars
26th January 2021 | Commercial Energy
The first thing you notice is just how quiet it is. When we first arrived, there was just one other vehicle charging (a BMW i3), but during our time at the UK’s first electric forecourt more electric cars turned up – although if you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t necessarily know it. The fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles float around the station, with just a faint noise of low-speed rubber on tarmac the only audible indicator that you’re not alone.
This is the Gridserve Electric Forecourt, which uses 100% renewable energy to provide all its power. A 24 bay-strong fast charging station of electric vehicles. There are additional Tesla superchargers on top of the main 24 bays, plus a handful of slower chargers too. It’s the first of its kind in the UK, but the firm behind it has grand plans to roll out 100 forecourts across the UK over the next five years, with York and Hull already planned after it built solar farms in both areas.
The rollout can’t come soon enough, as fully electric and plug-in hybrid drivers will attest. The electric car charging network is still far behind that of 8,000+ petrol stations. What’s more, the location of Gridserve’s first forecourt is a little peculiar. Rather than opting for a spot on the M25, M1 or another major route, it instead decided to set up shop on the A131 just outside Braintree, Essex. In terms of convenience then, the location isn’t one that many long-distance drivers are likely to pass, but as a proving ground for the concept there appears to be just about enough to test it out.
So, what’s it actually like? We jumped in the fully electric Audi e-tron Sportback, ran it around until we had just 30 miles of range left and headed to the forecourt for a top-up. First impressions: green, clean and quiet.
More information available on the website below