GRIDSERVE has unveiled plans to install a UK-wide network of ‘Electric Forecourts’, delivering ultra-fast EV charging for the public.
More than 100 forecourts are to be developed at strategic locations under a five-year plan valued at around £1 billion.
Each forecourt will feature dedicated zones for both private and fleet vehicles such as taxis, buses and delivery vehicles, and also incorporate a range of facilities for drivers to access while vehicles are charged including coffee shops, convenience stores and airport-style lounges with high-speed internet.
The firm has partnered with EV charging infrastructure specialist ChargePoint for the projects.
Chargers with speeds up to 500kW are to be made available for cars and light commercial vehicles, capable of fully charging modern EVs in less than 10 minutes. Multi-megawatt charging options for buses and heavy goods vehicles will also be accessible.
In addition, new solar farms to be constructed to supply the forecourts with clean power, while “multi-megawatt batteries” will be used to provide grid services. And it is this additional infrastructure which GRIDSERVE said would allow it to provide EV charging at prices which are competitive with home and destination charging.
Toddington Harper, chief executive at GRIDSERVE, said the intent was to make charging EVs as easy as using petrol stations.
“The latest generation of electric vehicles are awesome, and ready for mainstream adoption, but drivers still worry about if or where they can charge, how long it will take, and what it will cost.
“We plan to eliminate any range or charging anxiety by building a UK-wide network of customer-focussed, brand new Electric Forecourts that will make it easier and cheaper to use an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel alternative,” he said.
Construction at the first sites at York and Hull, where GRIDSERVE is developing groundbreaking new subsidy-free solar-plus-storage sites, is to start later this year.
Locations for 80 sites have already been secured, placing the forecourts on busy routes near grid connections that are close to towns, cities and transport hubs.
An App is also in development which will seek to better driver experiences, including the capability to reserve charging slots and pay for ancillary services such as car washing. Frequent users of the forecourts will also accrue loyalty points – dubbed Road Miles – which can be used onsite.
The unveiling of more detailed plans comes around eight months after the company first broke cover with its Electric Forecourts initiative, announcing it at last year’s EV Infrastructure Summit.