Maxol faces €90m bill for installing rapid EV chargers - CEO

Fuel group boss says planning permission would have to be sought for each sub-station

Maxol chief executive Brian Donaldson says installing banks of rapid chargers across its company-owned petrol stations could cost  €90m. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Maxol chief executive Brian Donaldson says installing banks of rapid chargers across its company-owned petrol stations could cost €90m. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

 

The chief executive of Irish family-owned fuel group Maxol has said it could cost up to €90 million to install banks of rapid chargers for electric vehicles at all of its 120 company-owned forecourts “over a long period of time”.

Speaking to Inside Business, a podcast from The Irish Times, Maxol CEO Brian Donaldson said the cost per site could run to €750,000. This would include paying €250,000-€300,000 to the ESB to install sub-stations and cabling to service the sites, he added.

“We need significant investment in terms of the grid and it needs to be made by the ESB and also by the Government if we are to get the access points needed,” he said. “You have to have it working where consumers are happy to come and charge their vehicles.”

He said planning permission would also have to be sought for each sub-station needed to power the chargers required to service eight vehicles at a time. Mr Donaldson said this would be the same energy requirement as powering 12 houses.

In total Maxol’s network runs to more than 200 sites, including forecourts owned and operated by independent dealers.

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Mr Donaldson said Maxol was currently trialing rapid chargers – ranging from 80 to 175 kilowatts – from different manufacturers at a location in Northern Ireland with a view to begin rolling them out between 2023 and 2025.

“It’s about the speed of charge because consumers will not want to sit on a forecourt for any more than 20-25 minutes, and it’s subject to you having the right offering in store,” he said.

Revamped

Maxol has revamped its retail offering in recent years with the aim of having sales in store contributing about 60 per cent of overall income. Mr Donaldson said it is currently 50-50 between retail and fuel.

Under Government plans the Republic will switch to all-electric car sales by 2030, with a target of having almost a million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by then.

Vehicles fuelled by diesel and petrol will still be able to drive on Irish roads beyond that date, and Mr Donaldson said it would be a number of years before it stopped selling those fuels.

He also noted that biofuels and possibly advanced fuels such as hydrogen would likely be available on its forecourts in the future.

Mr Donaldson noted that there were just currently about 40,000 electric vehicles on the road in the Republic and only about 5,000 in Northern Ireland.

Maxol last year celebrated its 100th anniversary and is owned by members of the founding McMullan family.