Brian Donaldson at Republic hubs announcement this week: EV chargepoints are part of Maxol’s strategy across Ireland

Irish forecourt operator The Maxol Group plans to submit planning applications for a further 20 ultra-rapid EV hubs across the island of Ireland over the next three years.

The business, which is repositioning itself from a traditional fuels-centric company to a convenience led retailer, announced this week its first two ultra-rapid EV hubs in the Republic of Ireland. It represents a £2.5m investment for six high speed 200kW chargers at two existing destination stores, with the facility being operational at Newbridge, Kildare in March, and Ballycoolin in Dublin in May.

The company’s chief executive Brian Donaldson says that rolling out EVs across Northern Ireland - where it already has two ultra-rapid hubs - and the Republic will not be without its obstacles.

“While our strategy is to offer EV charging in areas where we see greatest demand, the speed at which we can roll out our EV transition programme is hugely frustrating. Access to power capacity and the time it takes to connect to the grid are ongoing challenges with no immediate improvements in sight. The process is not aided by the high costs for substation and connection fees to establish these much-needed hubs both in ROI and NI,” he says.

However Donaldson says that EV, as well as new and alternative fuels including lower emission hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), are part of future proofing the business. The business has invested £225m in the past 10 years in preparation for the transition to EV mobility and ensuring its sites remain relevant, he adds.

“Customers will seek out service stations where they can have a meal or a coffee, catch up on emails or take 15 minutes in comfortable surroundings while they charge their vehicle,” says Donaldson. “Maxol in its 104 years has always been innovative in its approach and is committed to supporting the move to EV with full facility service stations that meet all our customers’ needs.” 

The Maxol Group has also been working to reduce its sites’ carbon footprint by up to 40% with the introduction of photovoltaic (solar) panels, low energy CO2 refrigeration systems; exhaust air-heat pump technology to reduce heating loads and an energy management system to monitor and control overall energy use.

Maxol launched Northern Ireland’s first dedicated ultra-rapid EV hub in Kinnegar, Co Down in December 2022, and another at Maxol Braid River, Ballymena at the end of last year.