Electric car boost as major operator spends £50 million on hundreds of rapid chargers

A petrol forecourt operator with more than 900 sites across the UK is to pump £50 million into electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs this year.

Motor Fuel Group (MFG) said the move would provide a further 360 ultra-rapid chargers on its network. The investment builds on a successful 2022 during which the company installed 271 ultra-rapid chargers, with an additional 31 hubs, plus a further 175 chargers in construction. The firm said it was committed to investing £400m in EV infrastructure by 2030.

The investment by one of the UK’s largest forecourt operators comes amid industry criticism that the rollout of new electric vehicle charge points is failing to keep pace with demand. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) noted that the ratio of new charge point installations to new plug-in cars fell from 1:42 in the final three months of 2021 to 1:62 between October and December last year.

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MFG hubs will consist of between four and eight ultra-rapid 150kW chargers per site. The chargers can add 100 miles range in about ten minutes, the firm noted, subject to the charging capability of individual car batteries. These will be augmented with 300kW-plus chargers as vehicle battery technology improves to maintain the fastest charging times across the network. Alongside its investment in EV infrastructure, MFG has undertaken a £50m investment to improve its retail, food to go and valeting offer.

William Bannister, chief executive of MFG, said: “We were proud to continue our significant investment into the UK’s EV infrastructure throughout 2022, opening a record number of EV hubs across our network. Our ambition was to invest ahead of the curve, and give drivers who were contemplating purchasing an electric vehicle the confidence that they could travel as easily as with a petrol or hybrid vehicle.

“Although we have a way to go to achieve this, our investment in 2022 has set us on a positive trajectory. We have set ourselves another ambitious target for openings in 2023, with the plan to energise 360 chargers whilst delivering the best experience possible for our customers.”

The group operates a franchise model partnering with oil brands including Esso, BP, Shell, Murco, Texaco and Jet and is also host to major retailers including Greggs, Londis, Subway, Budgens and Costa.

John Wilmot, chief executive of car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, said: “The slow installation of chargers and the rising cost of home charging remain genuine concerns to car owners considering the switch to electric. The industry needs to be ready to spring into action when the economic climate brightens.”

Motor Fuel Group (MFG) said it was committed to investing £400m in EV infrastructure by 2030.Motor Fuel Group (MFG) said it was committed to investing £400m in EV infrastructure by 2030.
Motor Fuel Group (MFG) said it was committed to investing £400m in EV infrastructure by 2030.

Meanwhile, Volvo Cars Edinburgh, currently located on the city's Glasgow Road, is set to open its doors with a new showroom on Lonehead Drive in Newbridge. It will feature eight electric charging points for the brand’s growing range of electric vehicles. Bryan Muir, head of business at Volvo Cars Edinburgh, said: “We’ve ensured our new sustainable facility is future-ready, with eight electric vehicle charging points and a range of plug-in hybrid models to choose from.”

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