McDonald's food products may come from questionable sources, but that hasn't stopped the fast food chain from embracing environmental initiatives. The most recent is the addition of NovaCharge's ChargePoint Network  electric vehicle Charging Stations at the first "green" McDonald's, located in Cary, North Carolina. Not just anyone can roll up to the plug-in EV stations--only ChargePoint Network subscribers can use the facilities, scheduled to debut on July 14th. Subscribers receive a ChargePoint Smart Card that allows them to juice their EVs at any ChargePoint station worldwide. Basic access to ChargePoint stations is free for the rest of 2009 as the EV charging infrastructure is built.
Other green initiatives at the Cary McDonalds include LED light fixtures, special parking spaces for hybrid vehicles, drought tolerant landscape plants, and an Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard designed to inform customers about the building's environmental efforts. All of these projects make more sense than the ChargePoint stations--as Engadget points out , it can take hours to charge EVs, and few people sit in fast food restaurants for that long.
But until McDonald's focuses its energy on incorporating more local foods into its menu--a monumental task considering the scale of the chain--any other improvements are just lip service to the sustainability movement.