It’s been dubbed the Electric Forecourt by its maker, GRIDSERVE. What it resembles most is the convenience stores and gas stations we’re accustomed to visiting around the world, save for one thing — there are no gas pumps. On December 5, the first location of more than 100 in planning around the UK opened to customers in Braintree, Essex.
The station hosts 36 high-speed EV chargers, along with a coffee shop, WHSmith Travel retail, and convenience items like you’d see in an everyday gas station. At its most efficient, the station delivers 350 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of power, enough to provide up to 200 miles of range in about 20 minutes — the perfect amount of time to sip a cup of joe from the onsite cafe. An average EV can charge up to 80 percent for about $13.25, making it more affordable than a tank of gas.
“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving GRIDSERVE’s purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change,” said GRIDSERVE CEO Toddington Harper in a press release. “It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution.”
The move comes in advance of the UK’s 2030 ban on new gas-powered vehicles, a plan announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year that is already driving an increase in the sale of electric vehicles across the country.
”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,” said James Cleverly, Braintree’s MP and former UK Conservative Party Chairman, in the release. “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.”
Looking to the future, the most exciting aspect about the opening of the first Electric Forecourt is that it represents what could become the status quo for what we currently call “gas stations” or “petrol stations” following the switch to transportation electrification. Even if you aren’t located in or near Essex and can’t visit the station in person right now, just looking at the photos is like taking a glimpse into the future.
More climate wins
New York State’s pension fund will drop fossil fuel stocks over the next five years. Valued at $226 billion, the fund is among the world’s largest and most influential investors, and its decision — meant to stabilize its long-term growth as the world moves to renewable energy — is likely to impact other pension funds around the country, the New York Times reports.
Train stations in India are taking a page from an old playbook. In its effort to curb single-use plastics, Treehugger reported that the Indian government announced that 7,000 train stations around the country will swap disposable plastic cups for clay alternatives called “kulhads.” These small cups will be used primarily to serve hot chai for passengers moving through the stations, keeping millions out plastic cups out of landfills and waterways each day. Once a chai drinker finishes their beverage, they simply toss the cup onto the ground — where it rapidly decomposes.
We close this week with a fun find. The Great Bubble Barrier debuted in North Holland in 2019, deployed into a canal to test the concept that a stream of bubbles might be a solution to keeping plastic out of the oceans. It seems to be working — the concept was tested in Amsterdam in November 2019 and is on course to be deployed in polluted rivers around the world in the coming years. It works by sending a stream of bubbles towards the surface of the water, pushing microplastics and debris up with it. Check out this video.