GRIDSERVE has today (1 July) brought together its Electric Forecourts, Electric Hubs and Electric Highway chargers into one network, dubbed the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway.
This will consist of over 50 high-powered Electric Hubs, 300 rapid chargers at 150 motorway services and 100+ wholly owned GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourts, the first of which opened in Braintree in Essex in December and others in various stages of development.
The launch of the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway comes after the company acquired the Electric Highway from Ecotricity in June, following on from the company taking a 25% stake in the electric vehicle (EV) charging network in March.
As part of this, GRIDSERVE committed to replacing the existing aging Electric Highway chargers, with the network having been ranked the worst public charging network in a survey of Zap-Map users before GRIDSERVE’s involvement.
Speaking to Current± ahead of today’s announcement, GRIDSERVE CEO Toddington Harper explained that the full acquisition of the Electric Highway was made as the company needed to deploy significant money, resource and enthusiasm into the infrastructure, and in order to do so “we needed to be in charge of our destiny”, which wasn’t possible as a minority shareholder.
When it comes to the combination of the Forecourts, Hubs and Electric Highway chargers under one network, simplicity was the driving factor.
“We just need to give people something that's really simple to understand,” Harper said. “It's a single brand; it's the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway.”
In the first five weeks of ownership of the Electric Highway, GRIDSERVE has installed over 80 rapid chargers at over 50 locations, with this equivalent to replacing around 17 chargers every week.
In total, GRIDSERVE is upgrading its 300 60kW+ rapid chargers at over 150 locations that form part of the old Electric Highway network. The Electric Hubs will feature a further 6-12 350kW chargers and are to be delivered at motorway service stations across the UK. This programme will see a new investment exceeding £100 million, with over 10 hubs to be installed this year.
The first hub was opened at Rugby Service Station earlier this year, with the site having 12 350kW GRIDSERVE chargers. This will be the blueprint for further hubs, with more than ten locations expected to be finished this year including motorways services deployments in Reading (East and West), Thurrock, and Exeter, and Cornwall Services.
Charging at the Electric Hubs will be priced at 30p/kWh, meaning a typical EV can add 200 miles of range for £15. At Electric Forecourts, it will cost £24p/kWh allowing an EV to charge for £12.
GRIDSERVE has additionally launched an interactive map, allowing drivers to easily find the nearest hub or forecourt, and see the charging connectors in each location, whether chargers are in use or available, and details about the facilities offered. It has integrated features from Zap-Map to help drivers access the information quickly.
Funding for its EV infrastructure rollout is being supported by global impact investment fund The Rise Fund as well as investment from its existing shareholder Hitachi Capital UK. In January, Hitachi made a £10 million investment into GRIDSERVE, with this following on from the company funding over £24 million in GRIDSERVE projects in 2020.