The country's first electric forecourt has opened near Braintree, Essex, marking a major step forward for the UK's electric vehicle charging network.

The site will be the first of more than 100 sites being developed by Gridserve as part of a nationwide £1bn programme that aims to make EV more convenient and stress-free.

"Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in achieving Gridserve's purpose to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change," said Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of Gridserve. "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.

Gridserve's first Electric Forecourt in the UK

"However, charging has to be simple and free of anxiety, which is why we’ve designed our Electric Forecourts entirely around the needs of drivers, updating the traditional petrol station model for a net-zero carbon world and delivering the confidence people need to make the switch to electric transport today – a full decade ahead of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.

"Together with our charging-included electric vehicle leasing business, that we are also launching today in partnership with Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, people now have the full confidence to make the transition to an electric vehicle, knowing that charging is in-hand, and it’s actually less expensive to use an electric car than a petrol or diesel alternative."

Electricity for the Gridserve Eectric Forecourt is generated from both the solar power canopies above the chargers, and a network of hybrid solar farms, making its power completely renewable; and when there's increased demand, a 6 MWh battery is onsite to supplement.

Motorists will only need to pay 24 pence per kWh, making it the cheapest ultra-high power charging rate in the UK – a typical charge from 10 percent to 80 percent therefore will cost less than £10. Tiered pricing will be introduced later on.

Gallery: Gridserve fast charging infrastructure