Planning application sent for first electric forecourt in Braintree

Planning applications have been submitted to build an "electric forecourt" featuring rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers, battery storage and onsite renewables In Braintree, the first of more than 100 planned sites by green technology firm Gridserve.

Planning application sent for first electric forecourt in Braintree

The site will have dedicated zones for both private and fleet vehicles

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.

If successful, the Braintree Electric Forecourt will be located next to the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation park, planned for Great Notley. The Forecourt will offer typical charge times of less than 30 minutes from 24 ultra-fast charging bays. A coffee shop, supermarket, and lounge that doubles up as an EC education hub have also been incorporated into the application.

The site will have dedicated zones for both private and fleet vehicles, including heavy goods vehicles. The planning application has been lodged with Braintree District Council.

Cllr John McKee, cabinet member for corporate transformation at Braintree District Council, said: “We’re delighted that Gridserve is looking at a site next to Horizon 120 to locate their very first ‘Electric Forecourt’ which will not only serve the businesses relocating to our park, but also all the residents in our district thinking about switching to green energy. 

 “This eco-friendly facility fits in with our vision for the park – to create a forward-looking business community with emphasis on long-term sustainability and future proofing to facilitate modern ways of living and working. All these contemporary amenities set within a landscaped, quality environment will make Horizon 120 the place to work and to do business now and in the future.”

Forecourts of the future

Backed by the UK Government’s £5bn Energy Investment Portfolio, the Electric Forecourts project aims to simultaneously spur demand for EVs while increasing the UK’s renewables capacity – which reached record levels in 2018.

Gridserve claims it will take less than 30 minutes to charge most vehicles, while a range of 500kW chargers will potentially offer charging times of less than 10 minutes for cars.

Gridserve has secured sites for 80 forecourts and multi-megawatt batteries will be installed onsite to provide balancing and grid services to support the charging needs for EVs. The batteries will be able to store low-carbon power from solar farms that are currently being developed by Gridserve.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) has predicted that EVs will account for more than half of new car sales by 2040. However, the research noted that the pace of the EV revolution could be hindered by far slower investment growth in infrastructure. Similarly, the Department for Transport has identified a lack of charging infrastructure as one of the three biggest barriers to EV adoption in the UK, along with distance travelled per charge and vehicle cost.

Matt Mace

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