Gridserve has secured a million-pound loan from Hitachi Capital that is to help construct over a hundred large charging parks in the UK by 2024. A yet undisclosed amount will go towards the company’s first planned site in Essex.
Gridserve already announced last June that it had received planning permits. This March saw the start of construction at the site in Braintree as reported. It is the first so-called Electric Forecourt of a network of a hundred such sites. All are to be powered entirely by clean energy generated at two battery-supported solar plants in Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire.
This is also where the loan facility from Hitachi Capital will go towards – the developments of the two solar-plants and the launch of the charging park “within months”.
The companies did not disclose the size of the loan. We know, however, the Essex station will house 24 rapid chargers, a supermarket and an EV education centre. Up to two dozen vehicles may charge simultaneously at a rate of up to 350kW in less than half an hour, the partners said, adding that there are also “many more sites already under development”.
It is unclear where these sites are and also whether the ongoing crisis will delay any opening. Gridserve had set the initial opening of the Braintree site for this summer. Now the CEO Toddington Harper only speaks of “the earliest possible timeframes” but considers the alliance with Hitachi having the potential for “delivering many additional projects over the next few years”. Also, Robert Gordon, chief executive of Hitachi Capital, sees the coronavirus pandemic as a chance that had highlighted both the need to cut carbon emissions and the “real opportunity, to create the infrastructure needed to fast-track electric vehicle adoption across the UK”.
The large electric vehicle charging park in Braintree has received a £4.86m grant from Innovate UK. EV drivers will find the Electric Forecourt at a 2.5-acre electric vehicle motorway service station just off the A131 once completed.
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