McDonald’s partners with InstaVolt to create EV charging network

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McDonald’s is today announcing plans to introduce electric vehicle (EV) rapid charging points as standard across new UK Drive-Thru restaurants, through a new partnership with InstaVolt. McDonald’s ambition is to create a new nationwide charging network to support increasing demand for EVs, as the business looks to play its part in a greener economic recovery. 

The partnership with InstaVolt, the largest owner-operated network of rapid EV chargers in the UK, marks a huge stride forward for EV charging infrastructure, and will also include the introduction of charging points at existing Drive-Thru restaurants within the McDonald’s estate where possible.

InstaVolt’s new rapid charging points are capable of charging at 125kW and can deliver an 80% charge in less than 20 minutes, making EVs a more realistic prospect for drivers than ever before. The partnership, the first of its kind for a major UK restaurant chain, will increase accessibility of rapid charging for drivers across the UK by providing a network of convenient and recognisable locations beyond service stations, residential streets and workplaces.

McDonald’s commissioned new research to identify the current barriers to EV adoption, finding that more than half (54%) of people that don’t own an EV directly cite a lack of convenient charging locations as a barrier to buying one. However, of this group, two thirds (67%) said they’d reconsider if this barrier is removed. In addition, seven in 10 (70%) said they’d worry about struggling to find a charging point mid-journey. The partnership therefore hopes to alleviate these barriers, bringing a new UK wide network of charging points.

Misconceptions around charging times were also found to be a barrier to owning an EV, with 57% of people currently believing EVs typically take an hour or more to fully charge. However, 43% of current non-EV owners would be more likely to consider purchasing an EV if they were able to reach 80% charge in 20 minutes.

The introduction of rapid chargers across the McDonald’s estate will help cater for increasing demand, and contribute to the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 in the UK. It comes as the UK economy starts to rebuild post COVID-19 with a renewed focus on low carbon industries and infrastructure, and as more drivers than ever consider EVs due to the dramatic improvement in air quality witnessed during lockdown. *

The InstaVolt network has built itself an industry-leading reputation for high levels of reliability and ease of use which led to it being named Auto Express magazine’s recommended chargepoint operator. It has the ambition to create a reliable, fast and convenient charging network will help make EVs a realistic option for UK drivers.

Paul Pomroy, CEO, 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 takes 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-COVID19, drivers will be able to pop in for a coffee or a meal and get an 80% charge in 20 minutes. We are known for speed and convenience, and this partnership with InstaVolt will provide just that for EV drivers.

“This boost to the EV charging infrastructure builds on our heritage when it comes to renewables. For the last 10 years we have run our delivery fleet on biodiesel produced from our fry oil, and our restaurants are powered by 100% renewable energy. Our ultimate ambition is to have more EV charging points on our premises than any other company in the UK and Ireland.”

McDonald’s also currently offers every company employee eligible for a company car an EV or hybrid option. As part of this announcement, it will strengthen that policy and now prioritise making EVs available to everyone eligible.

Adrian Keen, InstaVolt’s chief executive officer, said: “We’re committed to making our network the simplest to use. All our chargers can be used with contactless payment without the need to sign up for an account and our 125kW chargers are amongst the fastest and most reliable in the UK. Research shows that drivers need to be confident that fast, reliable and simple to use charging infrastructure is never far away, and this partnership will deliver that confidence to drivers nationwide. With recent reports also indicating more people are considering EV’s given the significant drop in emissions during this pandemic, we hope our partnership with McDonald’s will help encourage them to make this decision. I very much look forward to working with McDonald’s to fulfil their ambition by rolling out InstaVolt chargers across the McDonald’s estate.”

Transport Minister Rachael Maclean said: “Being able to easily and quickly charge our electric cars as we go about our day-to-day lives is vital to encourage more people make the switch to electric.

“This exciting partnership between InstaVolt and McDonald’s, an iconic household name, is essential as we strive to change people’s perceptions of electric vehicles. We want to make clean vehicles the new normal by installing rapid charge-points in busy, popular public spaces.”

George Ridd, Partner at Zouk Capital, manager of the UK Government’s £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, and investor in InstaVolt said: “McDonald’s already has fantastic sustainability credentials with its recycled packaging targets and now it is partnering with InstaVolt to host rapid EV chargers to decarbonise the UK’s transport sector as well as reducing tailpipe emissions to clean up the air we all breathe. Capital from CIIF will fund the roll-out of InstaVolt chargers at McDonald’s sites across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which will be renewable energy powered and is fantastic for furthering the UK’s leading role in the EV charging infrastructure market.”