Hitachi pours millions into Gridserve’s electric forecourts project

Hitachi Capital UK has announced a multi-million-pound investment to support Gridserve's ambitious project to develop more than one hundred electric forecourts across the UK to spur the low-carbon transition.

Hitachi pours millions into Gridserve’s electric forecourts project

The project has secured planning permission for more than 80 sites across the nation to date. Image: Gridserve

Hitachi Capital will back the Gridserve project, which will be delivered over the next five years. Gridserve unveiled a £1bn programme in March 2019 to construct more than 100 “Electric Forecourts” across the UK, which combine renewable energy, battery storage and rapid chargers to meet the needs of EV drivers.

Hitachi Capital’s chief executive Robert Gordon said: “We’re delighted to form a pioneering partnership with an innovative and market leading sustainable energy business, which will revolutionise the UK’s motoring landscape and accelerate the transition to vehicle electrification. 

“The response to the current pandemic has highlighted the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. We now have a real opportunity, through flagship programmes like this, to create the infrastructure needed to fast-track electric vehicle adoption across the UK and meet the Government’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050. Creating a greener, cleaner society.”

Backed by the UK Government’s £5bn Energy Investment Portfolio, the project has secured planning permission for more than 80 sites across the nation to date.

Each forecourt will follow a similar structure to the first location; they will all combine onsite renewables, multi-megawatt batteries and a dozen or more rapid EV chargers. Some will be co-located with solar farms currently being developed by Gridserve, including arrays in York (34.7MWp) and Hull (25.7MWp) as part of a partnership with Warrington Borough Council.

Gridserve is working with ChargePoint – operators of the world’s largest EV charging network – and engineering and design firm Arup to complete the Electric Forecourt project.

The financial support from Hitachi Capital’s loan facility will support projects in Gloucestershire and  Lincolnshire, and the soon-to-open state of the art Electric Forecourt close to Braintree.

Ground was broken in March 2020 on the installation of the electric forecourt featuring rapid EV chargers, battery storage and onsite renewables in Essex, meaning the facility will open for public use this summer.

Each of the charging points at the forecourt will be able to deliver up to 350kW of charge, which users can adjust in line with their vehicle’s technology. Gridserve claims this means many models will be able to charge within 20 or 30 minutes. Energy to power the chargers is generated using onsite solar panels, which are connected to battery storage arrays to balance out variable outputs. Any additional electricity required will be procured through a 100% renewable energy tariff.

The forecourt is being built in Braintree, next to the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation park, planned for Great Notley, after Braintree District Council granted planning permission last summer. The site has links to Stanstead Airport, Chelmsford, Colchester and the M11, and will play host to meeting rooms, an airport-style lounge, a coffee shop and convenience store.

Matt Mace

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