Gridserve plans 100 'Electric Forecourts' with 500kW charging

Gridserve has announced a £1 billion programme to build 100 rapid charging 'Electric Forecourts' in the UK

Energy company Gridserve has announced ambitious plans to build 100 rapid-charging stations in the UK, each offering up to 24 charging bays with speeds as high as 500kW.

The firm says 80 sites have already been secured under a £1 billion infrastructure programme supported by the Government. Construction at the first locations – in York and Hull – will begin later this year.

Gridserve says most vehicles will be able to charge in less than 30 minutes, with drivers able to minimise waiting times by booking ahead via a smartphone app.

The app will also facilitate journey planning and handle payment for on-site services: coffee shops, restaurants, supermarkets and car washes are among the many amenities planned for each location.

Meanwhile, Gridserve claims charging prices will be “competitive with and complementary to home and destination charging”, with the company set to construct a number of solar farms to “ensure that 100% of the electricity is green and low-cost”.

Extensive battery storage systems will also form part of Gridserve’s new infrastructure.

“We plan to make charging electric vehicles as easy as using petrol stations,” said Toddington Harper, the CEO and founder of Gridserve. “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-focused, brand-new Electric Forecourts that will make it easier and cheaper to use an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel alternative."

Harper added that 100 Electric Forecourts would be operational “within five years”, with the aim of accelerating the “electric vehicle revolution” and helping the UK meet emissions targets.

Gridserve says it'll work with a range of partners, including charging company ChargePoint and engineering and design firm Arup.

The 500kW charging speed target is well in excess of today’s fastest rapid chargers: the Tesla Supercharger network delivers around 120kW, with a new 250kW system being rolled out over the next 12 months. The forthcoming IONITY fast-charging network promises up to 350kW, with around 40 sites planned for the UK by 2020.

Currently, the fastest charge any car will accept is the 150kW enabled on the Audi e-tron. The Porsche Taycan – due in 2020 – will be compatible with 350kW charging.

The Gridserve project is one of 11 in a £5 billion portfolio of energy schemes selected by the Department of International Trade to promote global investors. When it was launched, 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.”