UK: Gridserve accelerates ultra-rapid charging network
Gridserve is building its ultra-rapid charging hubs in the UK, following plans announced last summer. There are already eleven charging parks under construction, each with six to twelve high power charging points, according to Gridserve. The company expects to finish 20 so-called Electric Hubs by Q2 2022.
Gridserve locates these Electric Hubs along major trunk roads in the UK. Each will have six to twelve HPC columns delivering up to 350 kW. ABB reportedly supplies the complete equipment for CCS and ChaDeMo plugs. However, Gridserve says it is also deliberately building the stations in more remote areas, specifically in Wales and Cornwall.
At the same time, the hubs are located at motorway service stations. The company largely follows the Electric Highway network, which it inherited from Ecotricity when acquiring the green energy provider in June this year. Since the acquisition, Gridserve says it has invested “tens of millions of pounds” to develop the new Electric Hubs and replace the 300+ existing motorway chargers it took on from Ecotricity.
Among the Electric Hubs will also be some of what the company calls Electric Forecourts. These flagship sites are significantly larger, featuring up to 24 HPC stalls and battery buffers to guarantee ultra-rapid charging at all times. Gridserve in earlier statements was confident these stations would become capable of handling 500 kW charging capacity eventually, also for buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles.
In concrete terms, so far, one is open near Braintree, Essex. It is the first of a pledged 100 Electric Forecourts by 2025, and Gridserve today announced two more were in the making. One is scheduled to open at Gatwick Airport in autumn 2022, and another in Norwich. Gridserve says it has already received planning permission for more sites, including Uckfield, Gateshead, Plymouth and Bromborough.
At Gatwick, located on the Ring Road South approach to the airport’s South Terminal, the company says it will enable 36 EVs to be charged simultaneously with up to 350 kW.
Despite the planned charging speed at those Electric Forecourts – a claimed 100 miles of range in less than ten minutes – Gridserve, through its partner Moto, is adding amenities for waiting drivers such as dedicated zones for fleet and private vehicles, a supermarket, coffee shops and restaurants. The hub is also designed akin to an airport lounge, providing a comfortable space for passengers to pass the time.
The majority of the sites now coming in will be installed by the end of March. The eleven sites currently in the making are Moto sites. In the next phase, so Gridserve, a further 50 Electric Hub sites will follow, then also with partner Roadchef. Gridserve is also working on adding 130 AC chargers to cater to all EV types.