Couche-Tard Begins Rolling Out Circle K EV Fast Chargers
The company's electric vehicle charging initiative in the United States starts in South Carolina.
LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has begun its venture into electric vehicle charging outside of Europe.
The parent company of Circle is deploying Circle K electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers to the United States with plans to bring the charging units to 200 Circle K and Couche-Tard convenience stores across North America over the next two years.
Couche-Tard's U.S. journey starts in South Carolina. On May 20, the company activated its first U.S. site with high power DC fast charging under the Circle K banner at a new prototype Circle K store in Rock Hill.
Along with future deployments across its North American network, the company will use the Rock Hill site to better understand U.S. customer needs, closely tracking driver usage and the resulting impacts on in-store foot traffic.
The company chose the South Carolina c-store to launch its U.S. EV charging station rollout because of its convenient location along a fast-growing commuter and travel corridor in a major metropolitan area where EV traffic is anticipated to grow, according to Couche-Tard.
As it expands EV charger availability in the U.S. and Canada, Couche-Tard will be taking a strategic approach, building a network for the future, looking at areas with strong EV adoption rates and electric delivery infrastructure to enable it to provide convenient charging options for customers, whether in-town or on the highway.
Following its successful rollout in Europe, the company plans to deploy its own charging assets to serve this growing EV customer base and continue to partner with other participants in the emerging e-mobility economy.
"We are committed to playing a key role in meeting our customers' evolving mobility needs as demand for sustainable energy choices continues to grow in all of our markets," said Louise Warner, Couche-Tard's senior vice president, Global Fuels. "Adding EV charging expands the mobility solutions available to our drivers, giving them a great new reason to visit us and enjoy all we have to offer both in our stores and on our forecourts.
"Having established Circle K as a leading destination for EV charging in Norway, we are excited to build off our ongoing expansion in Europe to now bring this capability to our North American Circle K and Couche-Tard customers," Warner added.
The company began introducing EV charging stations four years ago in Norway, the world's most mature EV market, in what is known as its "Norway lab" focusing on innovative EV charging solutions that anticipate and effectively meet the demands of EV customers across the spectrum of driving occasions and needs.
The company has a network of more than 1,000 chargers covering more than 230 Circle K stores in Norway, Sweden and Denmark and recently started deployment in other European locations.
"EVs represent 90 percent of all new passenger cars sold today in Norway. While development in North America is in relatively early stages by comparison, EV acceptance is growing here as manufacturers introduce innovative offerings that meet the unique needs of American and Canadian drivers and infrastructure improves," said Snorre Skeie, Couche-Tard's director of eMobility-North America. "With our broad footprint of more than 9,000 stores across the continent, we are well-positioned to deliver energy for our customers on-the-go, where, when and how they need it."
Laval-based Alimentation Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,100 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. With its well-known Couche-Tard and Circle K banners, it is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, and it is a leader in the convenience store industry and road transportation fuel retail in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics, as well as in Ireland. It also has an important presence in Poland and Hong Kong SAR.