Construction has commenced on the United Kingdom's first 'petrol station' for electric cars – a solar-powered roadside hub offering charging capabilities alongside food, beverage and retail options.
Known as an Electric Forecourt, the development is one of more than 100 planned locations being rolled out across Britain by sustainable energy company GridServe.
GridServe chief executive Toddington Harper told the BBC the development aims to "update the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future", by offering convenient charging for electric cars at "competitive prices", irrespective of manufacturer or model.
"It will take less than 30 minutes to charge most vehicles, and during this time drivers will be able to take advantage of a range of facilities including a coffee shop and an airport-style lounge with high-speed internet," GridServe promises on its website.
Additionally, GridServe is promoting the fact its solar power model avoids utilising the traditional power grid, thus contributing to the UK's goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Construction has commenced on a 2.5-acre location in Great Notley, near Essex, with the site housing up to 24 superchargers capable of delivering up to 350kW of power and charging a vehicle to full capacity in 30 minutes or less (there are plans to reduce that to 10 minutes in the future).
The first Electric Forecourt, which the BBC reports has been partially funded by a £4.86 million (AU$9.72 million) government grant, is due to open mid-year.
Renders of the site reveal it to be not dissimilar to a traditional petrol station, with a two-storey building housing a cafe, internet lounge, small supermarket and information centre where people can learn more about electric cars.
Construction on the site follows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealing a nation-wide plan to ban the sale of all new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2035.
But GridServe won't be the only provider targeting early electric car adopters.
Late last year, Shell announced it would redevelop one of its petrol stations in Fulham, west London, into an electric car charging hub, powered solely by renewable energy.
Meanwhile, BP Chargemaster – the result of petrol giant BP acquiring the UK's largest supplier of EV charging infrastructure – is currently in the process of installing 150kW rapid chargers across all existing BP locations in the UK.
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