Gridserve has started construction of its first electric vehicle (EV) charging forecourt, providing rapid chargers for up to 24 vehicles at once.
The site, which will open in the summer, will be located near Braintree on the A131.
Gridserve says it will open a nationwide network of 100 forecourts, all of which will be powered by clean, zero carbon solar energy and battery storage projects.
Rapid chargers will be capable of providing up to 350kW of charging power, enabling compatible vehicles to charge within 30 minutes.
A two-storey building adjacent to the chargers will provide EV drivers with facilities including coffee shops, a convenience supermarket and a lounge with meeting rooms and WiFi.
Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, said: “We’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future. Many more people want to buy electric vehicles but are worried about how to charge them. We will help solve that challenge and deliver the confidence needed to make the switch to electric transport.
“This will be the most advanced charging facility in the UK, and possibly the world. Drivers will be able to turn up and charge their vehicle at the fastest rate each vehicle can support, using 100% renenewable energy, and with the best possible charging experience.”
The company expects to have a UK-wide network of forecourts in operation within five years and plans to begin construction of several more by the end of this year.
Cllr Simon Walsh, cabinet member for environment & climate change action at Essex County Council, said: “Taking climate action is at the top of Essex County Council’s agenda and I intend to make Essex the most sustainable authority in the country. A rapid switch to electric vehicles is essential to respond to the climate emergency and improve public health by cleaning up our air, but it is being held back by lack of fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure. The Gridserve Electric Forecourt close to Braintree is pioneering a best-in-class new solution which will deliver businesses and private drivers the confidence to make the switch to sustainable transport.”