GRIDSERVE today announces plans to build a UK-wide network of more than 100 Electric Forecourts® designed specifically for the needs of electric vehicle (EV) drivers, delivering convenient, ultra-fast, low cost charging for all types of EVs.
Each Electric Forecourt® will have dedicated zones for both private and fleet vehicles, such as taxis, buses, delivery vehicles and heavy goods vehicles, and offer a new and compelling customer-focussed charging experience. It will take less than 30-minutes to charge most vehicles, and during this time drivers will be able to take advantage of a range of facilities including a coffee shop, fresh food, convenience supermarket, and airport-style lounge with high-speed internet, which will also serve as an education centre and hub to explore a broad range of electric vehicle solutions.
GRIDSERVE’s £1 billion programme, which the government promoted in the UK’s first Energy Investment Portfolio, involves the company building new solar farms to supply the Electric Forecourts® with clean, low cost energy, and installing multi-megawatt batteries to provide grid services that support the rapid uptake of EVs and additional renewable energy capacity. Construction is scheduled to start on the first sites later this year including at York and Hull, where GRIDSERVE is building the UK’s most advanced solar farms.
Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of GRIDSERVE, said: “We plan to make charging electric vehicles 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.
“Within five years we plan to have more than 100 Electric Forecourts® in use, with each supported by solar energy and battery storage. This infrastructure will accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, serve the grid, and help the UK meet climate and clean air targets. We are partnering with operators of fleet vehicles, developers, financiers of vehicles and infrastructure, EV manufacturers, retailers, local authorities, and others who share our vision.”
The Electric Forecourts® will offer:
- Rapid charging – Each vehicle will be able to charge at the fastest power it can support, with an ultimate rate of 500kW for cars and light commercial vehicles – the world’s fastest – offering less than 10-minute charge times. There will also be multi-MW charging options for buses and heavy goods vehicles.
- Competitive pricing – GRIDSERVE is investing in grid infrastructure and new solar energy capacity to be able to deliver dependable, clean, low-cost energy that materially improves the business case for electric vehicles, and be competitive with, and complimentary to home and destination charging.
- Minimal waiting – Typical configuration includes up to 24 ultra-fast charging bays, with batteries to support the maximum power requirements of all chargers simultaneously. A new queuing system will also minimise waiting times, and allow customers to be able to reserve charging slots in advance.
GRIDSERVE is also developing an App to support the driver experience at each Electric Forecourt® which will help people to plan journeys better, reserve charging slots, and pay for ancillary on-site services such as car washing. The App will also play a central role in loyalty and referral schemes that will reward people with Road Miles™ for using onsite services provided by GRIDSERVE and its partners.
GRIDSERVE has assembled world-class partners to participate in the delivery and operation of the Electric Forecourts®, including ChargePoint Inc., which operates the world’s largest EV charging network.
Christopher Burghardt, Managing Director, Europe, ChargePoint, said: “The electric mobility revolution is upon us and ChargePoint continues to work to help create an open and accessible network that enables drivers to enjoy an effortless charging experience everywhere they live, work and play throughout Europe. ChargePoint is committed to collaborating with partners like GRIDSERVE to build out the EV charging network of tomorrow and make driving electric vehicles more accessible and seamless than ever. GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourts bring the driver experience to the fore, which will be the key to make electric travel throughout the UK easier.”
The Electric Forecourts® have been designed and engineered in partnership with Arup. Ricky Sandhu, Lead Designer, Arup Architecture and Senior Consultant at Arup, said: “It is vitally important that we transition quickly to sustainable, clean new modes of transportation and energy production. Arup is extremely proud to be supporting GRIDSERVE in their mission to provide state-of-the-art, sustainable, new electric charging infrastructure – the Electric Forecourt® – for our growing populations. Our sense of responsibility for the built environment and our commitment to shape a better world by leveraging new technologies, and sustainable energy, combined with cutting-edge design makes for a perfect partnership with GRIDSERVE.”
GRIDSERVE’s £1 billion programme is one of 11 in a £5 billion portfolio of energy and infrastructure projects across the UK which the Department for International Trade has selected to promote to global investors. At its launch, the Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart MP said: “As well as creating jobs and prosperity, these projects will reduce bills and deliver huge benefits for the environment.”
GRIDSERVE has already secured 80 Electric Forecourt® sites on busy routes, near powerful grid connections close to towns, cities, and major transport hubs. Location permitting, the company will also build new solar farms adjacent to Electric Forecourts® which will supply their electricity directly.
GRIDSERVE® is also developing several large solar farms, supported by batteries, to supply energy via the grid for the remaining sites, to ensure that 100% of the electricity is clean, and low cost.
GRIDSERVE recently announced a pioneering new commercial model for solar farms, battery storage and EV charging at its York and Hull solar farms. The projects have been developed in partnership with Warrington Borough Council in a £62 Million transaction that is expected to generate £150 Million for the Council over the project lifetimes to finance essential council services and urban regeneration. Construction on the first 34.7MWp solar farm and 27MW battery storage system at York is now underway, and construction of Electric Forecourts® at both sites is also expected to start before the end of the year.
The York and Hull projects will:
- Use technology new to the UK to increase solar generation by at least 20%. Bifacial solar panels will generate energy on both sides and trackers will follow the sun to maximise generation and smooth production over the whole day.
- Supply Electric Forecourts® directly, providing clean, sustainable solar energy for EVs. There could be up to 11 million EVs on UK roads by 2030, according to National Grid.
- Use batteries to store energy, optimising pricing for both the projects and Electric Forecourt® customers, and earn money by providing grid services that help National Grid to balance supply and demand and support the growth of renewables and assist the uptake of electric vehicles.