The UK’s first fully electric car charging station opened today near Braintree in Essex, marking a milestone in the country’s transition to fossil fuel vehicles. The station is operated by Gridserve and is the first of more than 100 locations it plans to build over the next five years.
The location consists of 36 electric vehicle chargers, delivering up to 350 kW of power. That’s enough to provide 200 miles of range in 20 minutes, according to Gridserve. With an initial cost of £ 0.24 per kWh of energy, the company estimates that a mid-size electric vehicle can be charged 20-80% for less than £ 10 (less than $ 13.25). Gridserve claims that these are “the lowest ultra-high power charging rates on the market today.”
The station’s chargers are powered by renewable sources, including solar panels installed on the station’s canopies and the company’s network of hybrid solar farms. There is also a 6 MWh battery on site to help balance the power supply during peak hours. According to Gridserve, “on windy winter nights, the battery can store enough energy to travel 24,000 miles in electric vehicles the next day.”
The station opened less than a month after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to ban the country from selling new combustion-engine vehicles by 2030, The Guardian reports, with some hybrid cars and vans continuing to sell until 2035. A forecast cited in a recent government report estimated that there could be over 10 million electric cars on UK roads by 2030, and pass to 36 million ten years later.
While this is the UK’s first fully electric charging station, it’s not the first we’ve seen in the world. Last year, for example, a gas station in Maryland in the United States replaced its traditional gas pumps with four charging points for electric vehicles. CNBC reported that this made it the first gas station in the country to ditch petroleum in favor of 100% charging of electric vehicles.