GATWICK could soon be the first airport in the country to have a charging forecourt for electric cars.

The forecourt – the electric equivalent of a petrol station – would have charging points for 36 elective vehicles (EV).

It would be topped by a hub containing a cafe, lounge, shop and possibly a children’s play area.

The plan is to build it on a site west of the Gatwick Courtyard by the Marriott Hotel, on the Ring Road South approach to the South Terminal.

The Argus: Gatwick Airport wants to cater for an increase in the number of passengers with electric carsGatwick Airport wants to cater for an increase in the number of passengers with electric cars

The forecourt is permitted development under the Town and Country Planning Act, so no planning application is needed.

But a consultation letter has been sent to Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority, explaining the need for such a site at the airport.

It said: “The proposed EV forecourt will provide a dedicated high-powered charging facility at the airport, helping to support and meet the increasing need for EV charging infrastructure at the airport.

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“It will, in particular, help to address one of the problems that [Gatwick] has been seeking to address, which is how to provide the increasing number of passengers who own EVs and who wish to park at the airport for several days or weeks with convenient, efficient and effective EV charging facilities.”

Pointing out the environmental advantages of the forecourt, the letter added that some drivers were ‘almost certainly’ being driven to their flights by friends, family or taxis due to the lack of charging points currently at the airport.

The Argus: No planning application is needed for the forecourtNo planning application is needed for the forecourt

The infrastructure will be made up of superchargers – 350kW, 175KW and 90kW – as well as fast 22kW chargers, using 100 per cent renewable energy from the National Grid.

Most vehicles are expected to take about 20-30 minutes for a full charge, though this speed will reduce as vehicles with quicker charging speeds hit the roads.

The forecourt would be installed and managed by Gridserve, which opened the first such site in Braintree, Essex, in November.