Britain’s First Electric Forecourt (Paid For By Taxpayers)

Britain’s First Electric Forecourt (Paid For By Taxpayers)

DECEMBER 1, 2020tags: Electric Cars

By Paul Homewood

  h/t Patsy Lacey


Britain’s first electric forecourt will open next Monday as part of the £1bn rollout of a nationwide network.

The site in Braintree, Essex, is the first of 100 electric charging stations that will be opened over the next five years.

The landmark opening was delayed from November as a result of the second Covid-19 lockdown.

The station boasts 24 charging points that recharge electric cars within half an hour. A further six “superchargers” have been dedicated for Tesla owners.

There is a Costa Coffee, WHSmith and Post Office also on the site, run by startup Gridserve.

Earlier this month Boris Johnson confirmed that a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be brought forward to 2030.

The Gridserve forecourt is powered by solar energy and battery storage projects to minimise carbon emissions in generating the electricity.

Toddington Harper, Gridserve chief executive, said the forecourt based on a 2.5 acre site, “will be the most advanced charging facility in the UK, and possibly the world”.

“Drivers will be able to turn up and charge their vehicle at the fastest rate each vehicle can support, using 100pc renewable energy, and with the best possible charging experience,” he added.

The forecourt was funded by a taxpayer grant of almost £5m. Plans revealed in August came with the backing of former Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly, MP for Braintree.

So, a £5m bung from taxpayers just for 24 chargers, a maximum of 48 cars per hour.

In comparison, a similar sized petrol station would expect an hourly throughput of maybe 500 cars. Even allowing for the fact that many EVs will be charged from home, 100 of these electric stations will barely scratch the surface.

Gridserve boast that drivers can pop in for a cup of coffee while they are charging. They don’t say, however, what they are supposed to do while waiting for a free bay.

Braintree district has a population of 150,000, so there could be maybe 75,000 cars there. If 30,000 of these need public charging twice a week, you would need 150 of these electric forecourts (assuming 8-hour per day operation). At £5m a go, that’s £750m for one small town, equivalent to £5000 for every man, woman and child living there.

Gridserve also claim that it is powered by solar and battery storage. This is not true however. According to their own website:

GRIDSERVE recently acquired the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm – the Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire – to guarantee that all of the energy used at the Braintree Electric Forecourt® comes from net zero-carbon solar power.

In other words, Braintree will be totally reliant on the National Grid for power, at times when Clayhill is not providing enough, which will happen more often than not.

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