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McDonald's to Install EV Chargers at All UK Drive-Thrus

McDonalds-drive-thru

Do you want charge with that? McDonald’s customers will soon be able to refuel their electric vehicles while they grab a bite.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland has announced it is partnering with charging infrastructure provider InstaVolt to install rapid 125kW chargers at all restaurants with drive-thrus, “where they can be accommodated.” 

McDonald’s operates 1,450 locations spread across the UK and Ireland, including 1300 with drive-thrus. That expansive footprint meaning its charging points will be the first to arrive in some towns and regions. 

While most EV owners charge their vehicles through personal charging stations at their homes, paying for the electricity through their energy bills, they like the option of recharging when they're out and about, at kerbs and increasingly at local businesses

Marston’s pubs and supermarkets Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco have all invested in electric vehicle charging stations for their car parks. However, McDonald’s partnership with InstaVolt is the first time a fast-food outlet has connected to the UK’s growing charging infrastructure.

McDonald’s said its “ultimate ambition” is to have more charging stations on its premises than any other business on the British Isles.

InstaVolt’s chargers are vehicle agnostic, compatible with all the EVs currently on the UK market. They can charge many EV’s batteries up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes and are well rated by UK electric vehicle owners.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “Appetite for electric vehicles, which will be a central part of the UK’s efforts to build back greener post Covid-19, is growing. This partnership and ambition take advantage of our scale and is a real step forward for those already driving electric vehicles, as well as people considering making the switch.

“With over 1,300 restaurants our ambition would mean you would never be far from a charging point. As we look toward a return to normal service post-Covid-19, drivers will be able to pop in for a coffee or a meal and get an 80 per cent charge in 20 minutes. We are known for speed and convenience, and this partnership with InstaVolt will provide just that for EV drivers.”

McDonald’s reopened its drive-thrus at the beginning of June, after shutting them in March to comply with social distancing measures, and has also opened 280 locations for walk-in takeaway.

The government has pledged to end the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035, accelerated from the earlier date of 2040. However, uptake of EVs remains low, with just 1% of the vehicles driven off forecourts last year qualifying as pure EVs. 

Drivers have repeatedly cited the lack of access to public charging infrastructure for their reluctance to embrace plug-in vehicles.

In 2018, motoring association AA found that 80% of drivers say the lack of availability of charging stations is the main deterrent discouraging them from switching to an EV. There are currently public 11,600 charging locations across the UK, with 32,000 connectors, although distribution is uneven.

But the tides may be changing for electric vehicles. Although coronavirus lockdown and economic anxieties have hammered the car market, sales of EVs have fallen less sharply than those of petrol and diesel vehicles. Battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounted for 17% of all car sales across Europe in April, more than double the 7% market share reached in April 2019.   

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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