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McDonald's to roll out EV chargers at UK drive-thru restaurants

McDonalds restaurant and drive-thru in Swansea, U.K. on July 31, 2018.

McDonalds restaurant and drive-thru in Swansea, U.K. on July 31, 2018.

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McDonald's customers soon will be able to power up their electric cars while waiting for their Big Mac and fries, with the fast food chain teaming up with InstaVolt to rollout rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers at hundreds of drive-thru restaurants in the United Kingdom.

Under the partnership between the two firms announced Monday, InstaVolt said it would install EV charge points at both new and existing drive-thru restaurants "within the McDonald's estate where they can be accommodated," in what they hailed as "a huge stride forward" for EV infrastructure.

McDonald's U.K. and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy said he hoped the move would encourage more drivers to switch to battery vehicles.

"Appetite for electric vehicles, which will be a central part of the U.K.'s efforts to build back greener post COVID-19, is growing," he said. "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-COVID-19, drivers will be able to pop in for a coffee or a meal and get an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes."

InstaVolt, the largest owner-operated rapid EV charging network in the U.K., claims its 125kW chargers are among the fastest in the country, capable of powering up a compatible battery car with 125 miles of range within 15 minutes.

Appetite for electric vehicles, which will be a central part of the U.K.'s efforts to build back greener post COVID-19, is growing.

Adrian Keen, InstaVolt's CEO, said the charging points would offer contactless card payment without the need to sign up for a charging network account with the firm.

"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," he added. "With recent reports also indicating more people are considering EV's given the significant drop in emissions during this pandemic, we hope that this exciting partnership with McDonald's will help encourage them to make this decision."

The news comes amid growing pressure on the government to prioritize green transport infrastructure in its pandemic recovery plans, expected to be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Trade body Renewable Energy Association (REA) in late June outlined its own blueprint of core principles for how the government's proposed $624 million Rapid Charging Fund — first announced at the spring budget — should be deployed.

The government has set out an ambition to rollout 6,000 rapid and ultra-rapid EV charge points at motorway service and strategic road network sites over the next 15 years, with six individual 150kW charge points at each motorway service location by 2023.

The REA outlined eight principles for shaping a successful rapid EV charge point rollout, arguing the funding should aim to create competition for EV charging operators across the network while providing easy access and use for consumers and ensuring coverage at all existing and new sites.

"Getting this right means building market confidence, supporting British industry and removing a major barrier to rapid charge point deployment," said Daniel Brown, policy manager and EV lead at the REA. "The rapid charging sector is looking to see that the authority responsible for delivery of this grid capacity is structuring deployment in a long-term and transparent way that ensures widespread coverage and competition in the market."

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