GRIDSERVE went live on YouTube on July 1 and unveiled plans to develop a massive £100 million electric vehicle charging infrastructure project. The project, named the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway, will have a network of over 50 electric hubs. The hubs will have 300 rapid chargers at over 150 locations. Ten of these hubs are slated to be delivered this year.
Before the live presentation on YouTube, GRIDSERVE announced its news online. The company’s overall mission is to create a UK-wide network that people can rely on, without range or charging anxiety, wherever they live in the UK and whatever type of EV they drive. (See our previous article and podcast about GRIDSERVE here: “Wicked Awesome ‘Electric Forecourts’ & Net-Zero EV Leasing Now Offered In UK.”)
The video was presented by Robert Llewellyn and GRIDSERVE’s CEO, Toddington Harper. Before diving into the presentation, Llwellyn shared a bit of history.
“Anyone who’s driving an electric car in the UK will be aware of what was called the Electric Highway developed by Ecotricity. It was a very brave first step. They were first out of the gate in many ways. They put a charging network across the entire country.”
He explained that in the long run, Ecotricity didn’t really have the capacity to maintain the Electric Highway to the degree that is needed. However, Ecotricity laid down the foundation for GRIDSERVE to build upon. Harper then explained how GRIDSERVE was going to do just that.
“The Electric Highway was the first charging network that Dale Vince and Simon Crowfoot and others put together many years ago. When I first bought my first electric car in 2014, it was the one that made it possible.”
GRIDSERVE announced that it was taking over the Electric Highway a few days ago. The company announced that it bought the remaining stake in the Electric Highway around three months after buying a 25% stake in the business.
During the first part of the presentation, Harper explained how important it was to be able to charge his car and touched upon how the Electric Highway would get him out of trouble of sorts. He also pointed out that he has the highest regard for Ecotricity’s start and how exciting it was to be a part of the company taking over the highway.
Harper also explained why they were having a fireside chat, as he called the 56-minute long presentation. The presentation was put together as an accompaniment to the press release.
The press release noted that the Electric Highway is officially renamed the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway and along with the over 50 high-powered electric hubs with 6–12 350kW chargers each, there will be 300 rapid chargers installed across 85% of the UK’s motorway service stations. There will be 100 GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourts in development.
The company noted that within 6 weeks of acquiring the Electric Highway, it has already installed new 60kW+ chargers at over 50 locations and is going at the rate of around 2 new charging locations every day. It plans to replace the entire network of 300 old Ecotricity chargers by September and enable every type of EV to charge with contactless payment options.
The company noted that its first Motorway Electric Hub is a bank of 12 high-power 350kW GRIDSERVE Electric Highway Chargers alongside 12 Tesla Superchargers that was opened to the public in April at Ruby Services. It’s the UK’s largest high-power motorway charging site and is the blueprint for the company’s future sites.
GRIDSERVE Is Also Leasing EVs
GRIDSERVE announced that in partnership with Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, it is offering GRIDSERVE Electric Vehicle Solutions. This is the UK’s first net-zero carbon EV leasing business, and charging can be included in monthly leasing payments. This enables drivers who lease an EV through GRIDSERVE to charge their vehicles along the new GRIDSERVE Electric Highway without paying additional charging costs.
GRIDSERVE Is Planting Trees
The company noted that it is working with a tree-planting organization and will plant 100 trees for every EV leased through its service. So far, GRIDSERVE has helped plant 10,000 trees since its EV leasing business was launched in December.
GRIDSERVE also noted that it has a new investor supporting its ambitions, The Rise Fund, which works with growth-stage, high-potential, mission-driven companies that have the power to change the world and help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Edward Beckley, Partner at TPG and senior member of The Rise Fund’s climate investing team shared his excitement about partnering with GRIDSERVE.
“We are excited to partner with GRIDSERVE in helping to make EV charging in the UK a fast and anxiety free experience. We view this as critical to enabling the rapid decarbonization of road based transportation, especially for long distance journeys.
“Decarbonized transport businesses, like GRIDSERVE, are a core pillar of The Rise Fund’s climate investing strategy.”
Harper also shared his thoughts in the press release.
“I was named after Toddington Services, built almost 60 years ago. In that time, vehicle technology has incrementally improved however still remains noisy, polluting and is ultimately detrimental to a stable climate. Now, in just a few years, we will see one of the most rapid and far-reaching revolutions in the history of transport. I’m proud to stand here today, launching the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway charging network that will help to deliver that exciting future – given my name, perhaps this is a job I was destined to do!”
“GRIDSERVE’s purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway – a network of easy-to-use, reliable, rapid and high power chargers right across the UK – is doing just that, eliminating charging anxiety and making driving electric an enjoyable, ultra-convenient and stress-free experience. We’re working at a phenomenal pace to rollout cutting-edge charging infrastructure and will continue to move heaven and earth to install new chargers en-masse in as many locations as we can, and as quickly as possible.”
Rachel Maclean, Transport Minister, shared her delight as well.
“As we accelerate towards cleaner and greener transport, I’m delighted to see GRIDSERVE leading the charge in the EV charging revolution. The UK Government has already set out plans to invest £1.3bn in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support for rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads to erase any anxiety around long journeys. Couple this with forward-thinking projects like the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway, and there has never been a better time to go electric.”