Gridserve secures Hitachi Capital investment for 'electric forecourt' charging hubs

Construction of first site in Braintree, Essex, is already underway

Gridserve electric forecourt

Gridserve – a company planning a network of large electric-car rapid-charging hubs in the UK – has announced a multi-million-pound investment from Hitachi Capital, supporting its plans to build 100 of its 'electric forecourts' around the country over the next five years.

In a statement announcing the investment, Hitachi Capital UK's CEO Robert Gordon said: "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."

Gridserve founder Toddington Harper added: "As well as providing significant financial backing to accelerate our ability to deliver sustainable energy and meet net-zero carbon-emission targets, Hitachi Capital has an unrivalled wealth of experience, knowledge, resources and expertise to support our collective success."

In early March 2020, Gridserve announced that it had started construction of its first forecourt at a location near Braintree in Essex. The facility is next to the Horizon 120 Business & Innovation Park at Great Notley. 

Gridserve's plans for the location include 24 charging bays, a coffee shop, convenience store and an "airport-style" lounge with high-speed internet, which will also serve as an electric mobility education centre.

The site is planned to have dedicated zones for both private and fleet vehicles, such as taxis, buses, delivery vehicles and trucks. Drivers will be able to minimise waiting times by booking ahead using a smartphone app. The app will also facilitate journey planning and handle payment for on-site services such as food outlets and car washes.

Gridserve plans for each of its intended 100 sites to offer up to 24 charging bays and speeds as high as 350kW – and faster as battery technology develops. It says prices will be "competitive with and complementary to home and destination charging", with the company set to construct a number of solar farms next to its sites to "ensure that 100% of the electricity is green and low-cost".

Extensive battery storage systems will also form part of Gridserve’s planned infrastructure in order to deal with the intermittent nature of solar power. The company has also promised that its sites will have the power capacity to allow all 24 points to charge vehicles at the maximum rate simultaneously.