McDonald’s UK & Ireland has unveiled plans to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points at all restaurants with a drive-thru, as part of a partnership with InstaVolt.
The charging points will be vehicle-agnostic, making them compatible with all electric car models currently on the UK market, and will have a 125kW rapid-charging function. InstaVolt claims that this feature will enable many models to reach 80% of their maximum range on a 20-minute charge.
McDonald’s will make the chargers accessible on a pay-as-you-go basis for customers while working to fine-tune its company car strategy and make them accessible to restaurant staff. Staff who are eligible for company cars have been offered fully-electric and hybrid options for more than a year, but McDonald’s claims the new infrastructure should boost the uptake of this benefit.
Given that McDonald’s operates more than 1,450 restaurants in the UK and Ireland, of which around 1,300 are drive-thrus, the scheme is expected to bring public EV charging points to many towns and villages for the first time. InstaVolt claims it will be the largest EV charging network hosted by a UK restaurant operator to date. McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s chief executive Paul Pomroy said the “ultimate ambition” of the scheme is to ensure that the fast-food giant has more EV chargers on its estate than any other business in the nation.
“Appetite for electric vehicles, which will be a central part of the UK’s efforts to build back greener post-Covid-19, is growing,” Pomroy said.
“This partnership and ambition takes advantage of our scale, and is a real step forward for those already driving EVs as well as people considering making the switch.”
McDonald’s UK & Ireland follows the likes of Marston’s, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco and Mitchells & Butlers in increasing investments in EV charging points for customers. It has not yet confirmed when the full rollout of the new chargers will be complete.
Electrifying the recovery?
Speaking to reporters after a Prime Minister’s Questions session earlier this month, Boris Johnson said he “want(s) to see a lot more going into green technology, green batteries, green motor vehicles, low-carbon motor vehicles of all kinds” as a result of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery package. Chancellor Rishi Sunak had also told the press that the plan would expand upon his Budget commitment to funnel £500m into rapid-charging EV networks, in a bid to ensure that no Brit is ever more than 30 miles away from a public charger.
Green groups have been pressing for specific provisions for EVs in the package, given that transport has been the UK’s most-emitting sector since 2016.
But Number 10’s preliminary announcement on the plans, published this morning (30 June), do not directly mention EVs or related infrastructure.
The only transport-related measure is £96m for the Towns Fund by the end of 2020. This pot will provide 101 towns across the UK with between £500,000 and £1m each to improve and decarbonise their local infrastructure, including public transport systems, walking and cycling provisions and EV charging.
Johnson is due to give a speech unveiling the recovery plan, which he has dubbed a “New Deal” for the UK, later today, in which more detail may be forthcoming. The Treasury will then provide an update on the state of the economy next week and information on the further specifics of the recovery package throughout July.