The first electric charging forecourt in a network of 100 similar sites is set to open this summer with the support of Braintree Council and Essex Council.

The forecourt can charge 24 electric vehicles at once with superchargers that can deliver up to 350kW of charging power. This will enable people to charge vehicles within 20-30 minutes.

The £1bn network of 100 electric forecourts, which will be delivered by Gridserve, will be powered by clean, zero carbon solar energy and battery storage projects.

The Braintree site will have a two storey building which will contain a coffee shop, supermarket and other facilities for drivers use while they are waiting for their vehicles to charge.

The facility will also function as an education centre for electric vehicles and sustainable energy.

Toddington Harper, CEO and founder of Gridserve, said: ‘We’ve designed our electric forecourts entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future.

‘Many more people want to buy electric vehicles but are worried about how to charge them. We will help solve that challenge and deliver the confidence needed to make the switch to electric transport.

‘This will be the most advanced charging facility in the UK, and possibly the world. Drivers will be able to turn up and charge their vehicle at the fastest rate each vehicle can support, using 100% renewable energy, and with the best possible charging experience.’

Cllr Simon Walsh, cabinet member for environment & climate change action, Essex County Council, commented: ‘Taking climate action is at the top of Essex County Council’s agenda and I intend to make Essex the most sustainable authority in the country.

‘A rapid switch to electric vehicles is essential to respond to the climate emergency and improve public health by cleaning up our air, but it is being held back by lack of fit-for-purpose charging infrastructure.

‘The Gridserve electric forecourt close to Braintree is pioneering a best-in-class new solution which will deliver businesses and private drivers the confidence to make the switch to sustainable transport.’

Graham Butland, leader of Braintree District Council, said: ‘This ultramodern forecourt will provide residents and businesses in our district with access to a dependable source of green energy which will make owning an electric vehicle far more viable.

‘The availability of this technology will put Braintree at the forefront of the low carbon transport revolution and will go a long way in helping us meet our climate targets.’