UK's first electric vehicle charging forecourt opens in Essex

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The UK's first electric forecourt for charging cars has opened in Essex. 

The Gridserve site built at Great Notley near Braintree can charge up to 36 cars at once.

The energy comes from solar power and drivers can charge their vehicles up to 200 miles, within 20 minutes.

The company's Chief executive Toddington Harper said it was "updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future".

The forecourt is the first of more than 100 due to open over the next five years, as part of a £1 billion initiative.

There is a waiting lounge, food and drink outlets, meeting room pods and electricity-generating exercise bikes for motorists to use while their car batteries are being topped up.

The Electric Forecourt, adjacent to Great Notley, just off the A131, enables 36 electric vehicles to be charged simultaneously. Credit: Gridserve

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030.

It is part of what Mr Johnson calls a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy.

But concerns have been raised about whether the charging infrastructure will be able to support a rise in electric vehicles.

A ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars has been brought forward from 2040 to 2035/ Credit: PA

Braintree MP James Cleverly says building the charging forecourt will help people have the confidence to move towards electric vehicles.

"Our Government is committed to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles, to clean our air and enable us to achieve net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, which is why we have just brought forward the ban on new petrol or diesel to 2030.

"Gridserve's electric forecourt, close to Braintree, is the most advanced charging facility in the world and is pioneering the world-class infrastructure required to support our policies and drive the confidence we need to make the move to sustainable transport in the UK."