Fast Food & Fast Charging For Electric Cars: The Perfect Combination Meal?

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McDonald's corporate colors may be red and yellow, but the fast food chain is much greener than you might imagine.

For a start, it runs delivery trucks worldwide on biodiesel made from its own waste oil.

It has also installed over thirty electric car charging points at restaurants around the country--now joined by the company's first fast-charger at a restaurant in Riverside, California.

The Blink DC fast charger allows drivers to charge up to 80 percent capacity in only thirty minutes, but there are benefits for the restaurant too.

Firstly, it's the only fast charger in the county--so it's sure to attract drivers from miles around. The company's research suggests that electric car drivers will also return three times more often than regular customers, thanks to the fast charger, and stay in the restaurant twice as long--presumably buying more burgers as they do so.

For the time being, there's also no fee to use the fast charging station--and using the Level 2 station beside it costs as little as $1 per hour.

Electric car drivers do require membership to use Blink stations, but this is free so there's very little to lose (provided you're a McDonald's fan).

The restaurant, run by Tom and Candace Spiel, isn't the first McDonald's to offer electric car charging. However, it's one of the greenest overall - it holds a 'Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certificate for its environmentally-friendly methods.

These include low-flow plumbing saving 250,000 gallons of water, drought-tolerant plants around the restaurant, permeable pavers to divert rainfall into drainage systems and solar panels to save 13 homes' worth of electricity per month.

Where better to quickly boost your electric car's battery than grabbing some equally-quick food in an equally-green restaurant?


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Comments (18)
  1. This should era McDonald's national support policy to provide level 2, level 3 chargers.

  2. I think fast charging is a dead-end.

    Large SUVs and Pickup trucks aren't going to magically go away. In order to compete with existing liquid fuel filling stations, you'll need fast charge a large SUV or Pickup truck with 300 miles of range in 10 minutes. That would require a megawatt charger. Plugging 1,000,000 watts into a car with ice and snow dripping all over is inherently dangerous. The charger checks for shorts initially, but once 1,000,000 watts starts flowing, if ice melts and causes a short, kaboom! a megawatt can vaporize things. Things like fingers and hands.

    In the future, I believe:
    1) the vast majority of gasoline will replaced with electricity
    2) long distance travel by air, land, and sea will be powered by biofuels

  3. Well Dave, that Mcdonalds in riverside must represent that particular vision of the future nearly exactly. Delivery trucks running on used french fry oil, and cars charging up with electricity. Riverside has arrived at the dead end, and is fast charging, would you like an order of fries with that sir!

    Hmm, I wonder if ice melting has caused shorts in the giant ship to shore connections that look like Chademo cables on steroids?

  4. Don't get me wrong. This is a great thing for the BEV community. But how does it work financially?

    How does MCD makes "money" on this? The DC quick charger is going to cost MCD more money in "peak power demand" rate than what each customer brings in profit per sale.

    A typical Leaf can get about 80% of its charge in 30 mins. That is about 20KWh. @ commercial rate of $0.15/KWh (not including charging station cost), that is about $3 per Leaf in cost to the restaurant. Assuming a dual charger and 100% use rate. That is 4 Leaf/hr. Assume 16 hrs/day, that would be 64 Leaf/day.

    I don't know how much each value meal makes for MCD, but it is $3 less per driver and you probably will only add about 30 customers on average per day...

  5. Your math is sound Xiaolong, but you're probably overestimating just how many vehicles will be coming in to charge up. I expect it's quite a few, but it's fair to assume also that with only a couple of charging points at that restaurant and many people eating within a couple of busy periods each day, not every EV will be charging and not necessarily for a full charge.

    Put another way, I can't see why they'd do it if it didn't make them money - unless it's being run as a loss-leader to drag a few EV owners over from Denny's or Burger King!

  6. Well, I did a "cost/profit" analysis a long time ago (which might no longer applies here) on MCD's business model and how much money each meals makes. It was about 20 yr old so take it with a grain of salt. The burgers were the least profitable items. They make about $0.07 to $0.15 per burger depending on the size. Fries profit is around $0.25-$0.40. Drinks are the profit leader at $1-$1.50. So, a typical value meal would make MCD about $1.50-$2.50. Of course, the profit varies slightly from location to location and also increases if the customer orders kids meal or other items off the menu.

    Anyway, I think certain restaurant is doing this for "free ads". A fast DC charger will more than likely put this location on the "map".

  7. Well they are LEED Gold certified. As certain hiphoppers are prone to say, "it's what they do."

  8. When my family drives our Leaf, we have 4 to 5 people along for the drive. Our average bill at McD's can be upward to $30. If all McD's had them we could take small 3 hour or so trips away from home and would likely spend money eating while we wait.

  9. I agree, in your case, it would be good for MCD. But there are also cases where people charge b/c they need it and they only buy a drink or a snack...

    We haven't even talked about the cost of the charging station yet.

  10. Xiaolong Li, though clearly true, that is not looking at the business as a whole. There are many things businesses must do that are not profitable. Stationery, business plans, neat shrubbery, clean windows, and restroom air fresheners are not "purchased" by customers at all. These and thousands of other details "not on the menu" are clearly seen by owners and managers part of doing business.

    Perhaps successful business owners see something that benefits their overall results in a way that a $1.50 profit on a soda analysis of proximate revenues cannot capture. Or is the whole thing a wasteful fiasco that will be ripped out and stored along with those never opened cases of "New Coke."?

  11. Perhaps. We will see. But one good thing with this is that fact this MCD will be on the "charging map". So certain BEV owners will go out of their way to charge here. Free publicity is always a good thing in the business that depends on marketing...

    Like I said, it is a good thing.

  12. Not everything in the world revolves around making money. The owners of the restraunt sound like they are envirnmentaly responsable. And installing the D.C. fast charger was a good thing.

  13. We are talking about MCD here, right? Sure, let us "supersize" all the charging station while we are at MCD... :)

  14. so much trouble ,ya I think that I will charge my toy car so I can get home or at least the next charger ,I would just wont to fill up once a month and not have to worry if I'm going to make it to where I need to go,you people get real!

  15. There are more comments in this thread
  16. Sounds like the owners of that McDonalds are in tune to whole 'green thing'. I hope that a restaurant in Northern CA takes the plunge on fast charging some time soon.

  17. I know that everybody has a opinion,but fossil fuels will always be better for the people that wont to get there in the same year and not have to stop and charge every 50-60 miles if I wont a battery powered car I would go to Wal-Mart and buy a kids battery powered toy ,because that is what you have in a electric car just in a larger scale ,there will always be people fighting over fossil fuels or green this will never stop this will be going on for ever ,I love a good argument like this ,thats why we have freedom of speech thats great don't you think but gas is first and electric will always be last,you'll never see nascar charge a battery to race nor will you see NHRA nether but if you only have 20-40 miles to drive a day just be a losser

  18. @James: This is your friendly site moderator. I note that you posted five separate comments on this article.

    Unfortunately, I had to delete two of them for use of inappropriate language and for insulting other commenters.

    If you comment on our articles in future, please read the "Terms of Use" in the blue link on the comment box to make sure your what you write falls within our terms. Thank you.

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