Fast Clean Energy

Valeting and ultra-rapid EV charging central to MFG’s investment plans

Motor Fuel Group (MFG) is spending an initial £40m on upgrading the 337 Morrisons petrol forecourts it acquired this year, to align the sites with its existing stations with an improved convenience and food to go offering. 

The announcement comes days after the Top 50 Indie completed on the purchase, which included more than 400 sites across the UK to be developed for ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging and increased its network to over 1,200 outlets. 

MFG says that the refits, taking place between May and October, will “create a truly convenience led retail offering”, with increased opening hours, alcohol licences where appropriate, and the provision of other services such as the National Lottery.

Work on the first five sites was due to start in early May. Following their completion MFG will be refitting 15 sites per week until the end of October.

The business, the UK’s largest independent forecourt operator and second largest convenience retailer by store numbers, says this is only the start of its investment in “improving the customer experience”. It will be followed by a ”full-scale redevelopment of the Morrisons portfolio”, which will include valeting centres and ultra-rapid EV charging hubs.

It plans to redevelop at least 100 Morrisons sites in the first five years, providing convenience retail, valeting and EV charging to meet the energy transition.

It will also be investing in the forecourt infrastructure to ensure sites are “fit for the future”. And it says that it is ”proud” to retain the Morrisons brand on these sites.

In a second phase, MFG will turn its attention to valeting and install ultra-rapid EV charging across the Morrisons sites. MFG is planning to install 800 ultra-rapid 150kW EV chargers in the first five years. It believes that this level of investment will position it as one of the largest and most significant ultra-rapid EV chargepoint operators in the UK, with over 1,300 sites.

The business has already committed to investing around £400 million in 3,000 ultra-rapid 150kW, 300kW and 400kW EV chargers across 500 sites in the UK by 2030, and to complete its EV roll-out to all suitable remaining locations by 2035. It has already installed more than 700 chargers.

MFG claims to have a strong track record of investing its profits into its business, as well as delivering returns for its investors. Since the pandemic, it says it has spent millions of pounds on its network of convenience retail stores, with a further £50m per year committed to improve its retail, food to go, and valeting offer.

William Bannister, MFG’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased to announce this initial investment into the re-development of the newly acquired Morrisons sites. This is the start of our wider plans to upgrade all of the Morrisons hubs with services to fit all of our customers evolving needs, including ultra-rapid EV charging infrastructure, food and valeting.

“Our top priority has always been, and remains our customers and the communities within which our sites are located. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that our investment enhances the look and feel of the newly owned sites, with MFG working in partnership with the highly respected Morrisons brand.”

MFG, which owns the freehold of 82.7% of its sites, operates a franchise model partnering with brands including Morrisons, Esso, BP, Shell, Murco, Texaco, and Jet as well as Greggs, Londis, Subway, Budgens and Costa.