UK-based company GRIDSERVE has announced the opening of the country’s first Electric Forecourt near Braintree, Essex, to support mass-market electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the nation.

Located adjacent to Great Notley, Braintree Electric Forecourt features 36 charge points, which are equipped with power chargers to offer up to 350kW of charging power.

GRIDSERVE’s Essex site is said to be the first of more than 100 Electric Forecourts, which the company is planning to build over the next five years.

Part of GRIDSERVE’s £1bn UK-wide programme, the construction of EV charging infrastructure is expected to support the process of mass EV adoption, well ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

GRIDSERVE founder and CEO Toddington Harper said: “Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving GRIDSERVE’s purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.

“It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution.

“However, charging has to be simple and free of anxiety, which is why we’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model for a net-zero carbon world and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today, a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.”

In addition to GRIDSERVE, the project has been funded by Hitachi Capital (UK), Innovate UK and OZEV.

The Electric Forecourt is said to be part of GRIDSERVE’s wider ‘sun-to-wheel’ infrastructure, which aims to provide low-cost, net zero-carbon energy to all vehicles utilising one of GRIDSERVE’s chargers.

The company explained that the electricity used for charging EV vehicles is generated from the solar power canopies located above charge points and through a network of hybrid solar farms, operated by GRIDSERVE.

In addition to the Electric Forecourt, GRIDSERVE has partnered with Hitachi Capital (UK), to launch its GRIDSERVE Electric Vehicle Solutions, which is the nation’s first net-zero electric vehicle leasing business.

The two companies said that they are planning to offer EV’s from all major vehicle manufacturers.