LEADING retail and technology firms have signed up to help deliver the UK's first ever electric vehicle charging station.

Gridserve says it hopes the new forecourt off the A131 at Great Notley will open to the public for the first time in November.

The station is the first of its kind in the country and will offer charging for up to 30 electric vehicles at any given time.

Gridserve has struck deals with a number of retailers who will operate on the bottom floor of a state-of-the-art building being built within the forecourt area.

WHSmith will run a small supermarket, Costa Coffee will set up a new cafe area and Post Office will also provide services.


The two-storey building will also offer customers a waiting lounge, free superfast Wi-Fi, high-end bathrooms, a dedicated kid's area, wellbeing area and business meeting room pods.

Toby Keir, managing director at WHSmith Travel said: “We have been serving customers on their journeys for over 200 years and we understand how important convenience is to people on the go.

"We’re therefore delighted to be partnering with Gridserve’s electric forecourt to deliver a new first-class retail experience, with fantastic service and a tailored product offer.

"It’s a great concept and we look forward to playing our part over the next hundred years with the future of electric cars."

Experts say the new forecourt will deliver up to 350kW of charging power, enabling people to add 200 miles of range in just 20 minutes.

Swiss-Swedish technology giant ABB is providing 24 of the 30 charging points which will be able to charge all electric vehicles.

Tesla will meanwhile be setting up the remaining charging points which will be specific to its own vehicles.

Gridserve says the charging station will be entirely dependant on solar power, with its new solar farm in Bedfordshire built to help provide energy for the forecourt near Braintree.

It plans to build more solar farms and electric charging stations in the coming years.

Chief exec Toddington Harper said: "It’s our collective responsibility to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.

"By delivering a series of hybrid solar farms in tandem with our electric forecourt rollout, we can ensure that every kWh of energy used to charge EVs is matched from 100 per cent renewable, zero carbon energy sources, enabling us to start delivering net zero carbon transport in 2020, well ahead of the UK’s 2050 net zero target.”