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AS fleets increasingly include electric vehicles in their renewal strategies, the issue is where do the reps on the road charge up at night or during their lunch break?

Whitbread – owner of brands including Premier Inn hotels and restaurants Beefeater and Brewers’ Fayre – may have an answer having struck a deal with energy giant ENGIE, to deliver the UK hospitality sector’s biggest roll-out of high-powered electric charging points.

Whitbread, which has over 800 hotels across the UK and more car park locations than the NCP, aims to install up to a thousand GeniePoint Network rapid charging points, beginning with 600 committed over the next three years as part of its Force for Good sustainability scheme.

The company is aiming to satisfy increasing consumer and guest demand for electric charging points as the car industry becomes progressively more electric.

Whitbread’s move has been made as part of the company’s wider sustainability commitment to reduce its environmental impact through its Force for Good Sustainability programme. The company recently announced its commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It will help support the Government’s 10 point green plan, with its emphasis on accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.  Major new product launches this year illustrate that electric charging is becoming increasingly important to a business as well as private vehicle market – meaning the move will likely be welcomed by business and leisure travellers alike.

Access to the charging points will be for guests as well as members of the public using ENGIE’s GeniePoint Network and will ensure electric car owners can relax knowing there are even more locations being added in easy-to-reach-places – with many in key strategic locations in towns and cities across the UK.

ENGIE will install high-power chargers which will enable cars to replenish in around 30 minutes. The facility is therefore likely to be attractive to people ‘on the move’ as well as hotel and restaurant guests.

Sam Hockman, Divisional Chief Executive – Futures at ENGIE UK and Ireland said: “A big factor for drivers considering the switch to EV is access to a broader range of charging options. This significant investment at Premier Inn sites will provide hundreds of new, convenient charging locations across the UK and also give customers access to ENGIE’s wider GeniePoint network.

“This important move by Whitbread highlights the key role the hospitality sector can play to support not only the uptake of EVs, but also the UK’s wider commitment to become net zero by 2050.”

The roll out will include installations across the Whitbread network of brands including its Premier Inn hotels and restaurant brands including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Cookhouse + Pub and Whitbread Inns. The list of locations will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure an excellent UK wide distribution of charge points are available.

The chargers are accessed via the GeniePoint App, available from the App Store or Google Play, or by RFID card.