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07/20/2022

GPM Investments Builds Up EV Charging Infrastructure

The two-car Level III charging station at a Village Pantry store in Ohio is one of several planned charging stations.
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GPM Investments

RICHMOND, Va. — GPM Investments LLC is taking the first steps on its electric vehicle (EV) charging network journey.

The convenience store operator is opening an EV charging station at its Village Pantry location, situated at 16350 Allenby Drive in Marysville, Ohio. The two-car Level III charging station will support all types of EVs and charge at a minimum of 125Kwh.

The charging station will be deployed by Campbell, Calif.-based ChargePoint, the world's largest network of EV charging stations in North America and Europe.

"This is an important first step in our efforts toward implementing EV charging across our network," said GPM Investments Senior Vice President of Facilities and Construction Mark Wilson. "As demand builds, we believe we are well-positioned to make EV drivers loyal customers of our stores."

Working with individual states for approval and grant funding, the station at Village Pantry is one of several planned EV charging stations at GPM store locations, including two sites in Colorado.

GPM Investments President and CEO Arie Kotler admits to being skeptical of EVs at first, but the company now plans to go after available grants. He sees the buildout of EV infrastructure to be a net positive for the convenience store business even if it could eventually cut into fuel sales.

"When you plug your car in, you're going to need to spend 20, 25 minutes on an EV charger station. I think there's a very good chance you'll end up in the store," he recently told Convenience Store News, noting that EV drivers can step away from their cars, unlike drivers who have to stay with their vehicles while filling the gas tank and may not feel a need to go inside afterward. "That's the way I feel it's going to be. At the end of the day, people who travel will actually stop in convenience stores, and I think the convenience store business will increase tremendously just because of that."

ARKO Corp., which owns 100 percent of GPM Investments, began gearing up for EV charging adoption last year when it signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with Chakratec, an Israel-based developer of EV charging technology, to distribute the kinetic storage systems for fast charging of EVs.

"Our partnership with Chakratec is an important first step in our long-term journey toward being ready should the time come for electric vehicles to become mainstream in North America," Kotler said at the time of the announcement.

Based in Richmond, GPM operates or supplies stores in 33 states and Washington, D.C. As the sixth largest c-store chain in the country, GPM has more than 3,000 locations comprised of approximately 1,400 company-operated stores and 1,600 dealer sites to which it supplies fuel.

GPM Investments is one of several convenience channel companies building out its EV charging infrastructure. Pilot Co., parent company of Pilot and Flying J travel centers, is collaborating with General Motors (GM) to build a national direct-current fast charging network that will be installed and managed by EVgo.

The EV charging network will provide 2,000 charging stalls powered by EVgo eXtend and open to all EV brands at up to 500 Pilot and Flying J travel centers. The charging stalls will be co-branded Pilot Flying J and "Ultium Charge 360," as Convenience Store News previously reported.

"GM and Pilot Co. designed this program to combine private investments alongside intended government grant and utility programs to help reduce range anxiety and significantly close the gap in long-distance EV charger demand," said Shameek Konar, Pilot Co. CEO. "Our travel centers are well-equipped to accommodate EV charging with 24/7 amenities and convenient proximity to major roadways across the country."

Creating an EV charging network is part of Pilot's new strategy, which includes the adoption of alternative fuels.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Co. operates more than 800 retail and fueling locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces.