The biggest upgrade of motorway EV charging infrastructure in UK history is underway as GRIDSERVE announced that more than 20 ‘Electric Hubs’ – each featuring 6-12 x 350kW ultra high-power chargers with contactless payment and CCS and CHAdeMO connectors, capable of adding up to 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes – will open at motorway service stations across the UK by Q2 2022, with the majority planned to be installed by the end of March. In the next phase a further 50 additional Electric Hub sites will follow.
Two Electric Forecourts situated adjacent to major transport routes and motorways, including a flagship site at Gatwick Airport – the first in the world to be hosted at an international airport – and Norwich, are also in construction, due to open in 2022. Several additional Electric Forecourt sites now also have planning permission including Uckfield, Gateshead, Plymouth and Bromborough, with more than 30 additional sites also under development as part of the company’s commitment to deliver over 100 Electric Forecourts.
The unprecedented investment programme forms part of GRIDSERVE’s plan to revolutionise EV charging across the UK, following the acquisition of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway network in June. Some of the Electric Hubs are also located in areas traditionally left behind in the EV transition, including Wales and Cornwall, helping to deliver GRIDSERVE’s vision of giving drivers everywhere the confidence to go electric well ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
Since the acquisition, GRIDSERVE has invested tens of millions of pounds in the network to develop the new Electric Hubs, replace the 300+ existing motorway chargers it inherited from Ecotricity, and install 130 additional AC chargers to cater for all types of EVs.
The new sites also include two new Electric Forecourts in Gatwick and Norwich which will follow GRIDSERVE’s blueprint of the world’s first Electric Forecourt in Braintree, Essex – recently awarded charging destination of the year.
Developed in partnership with Gatwick Airport, the Gatwick Electric Forecourt – the first in the world to be hosted at an international airport – will be a flagship site, serving the tens of millions of passengers, commuters, staff, local residents and businesses that pass through the airport and its surrounding motorway network each year.
Located on the Ring Road South approach to Gatwick’s South Terminal and adjacent to the M23 – it will enable 36 EVs to be charged simultaneously, with high-power chargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of charging power, capable of adding 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes. Multiple charging connectors will cater for all types of electric cars.
The site is due to open in autumn 2022 and will host a café, comfortable waiting lounge with free superfast WiFi, convenience supermarket, children’s play area and a dedicated educational space to increase awareness around electric vehicles. As with all of GRIDSERVE’s chargers, the site will also be supplied with low cost, 100% renewable net zero carbon energy generated by GRIDSERVE’s own solar farms.
The Electric Forecourt also forms part of Gatwick Airport’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions for its internal operations before 2040 and its broader aspirations to become the UK’s most sustainable airport, including through involvement in UK industry plans to reach net zero aircraft emissions by 2050. It also contributes to majority stakeholder VINCI Airports’ global environmental action plan – the first in the industry to be applied to a network of 45 airports in 12 countries – to develop carbon-free energy for passengers and users.
For maximum accessibility, all of GRIDSERVE’s chargers offer contactless payment, and from today on all ABB chargers we are also introducing the lowest payment card preauthorisation check to activate a charge of just £1, supporting the customer experience further and making it even more convenient to pay.
The Norwich Electric Forecourt, which is nearing the end of its construction, and scheduled to open in April 2022, will mirror the set up at Gatwick and provide unprecedented access to East Anglia for EV drivers.
GRIDSERVE is also developing several large-scale hybrid solar + battery farms to supply renewable solar energy as part of a “sun-to-wheel” ecosystem. Every kW of energy taken out of the grid by a GRIDSERVE EV charger is netted off against a kW of zero carbon solar energy put back into the grid by a GRIDSERVE solar farm, creating a net zero carbon, low cost transport system today. This has allowed GRIDSERVE to provide the most competitive rate for high-powered charging today. GRIDSERVE also leases EVs, with 100 trees planted for every EV leased, offsetting embodied emissions.