Alimentation Couche-Tard, the parent company of the North American Circle K gas station and convenience store concept, has begun the installation of Circle K electric vehicle fast chargers across the United States and Canada.
The first EV charging station was recently installed at a Circle K store in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In a press release, the company said it plans to install electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers in 200 Circle K and Couche-Tard locations across the U.S. and Canada.
Following the Rock Hill installation, Circle K also announced the opening of an EV charging station at Circle K in Lancaster, Ontario, Canada. The location uses two ABB Terra 184 chargers, capable of charging up to 180kW / 400A on CCS1 or up to 100kW/200A on CHAdeMO, according to a company announcement on LinkedIn.
Couche Tard’s Ongoing Expansion in Europe
Four years ago in Norway, Couche-Tard began introducing electric vehicle (EV) fast charging DC stations to Couche-Tard customers with great success. The company now has a network of more than 1,000 vehicle charging stations in 230 Circle K locations across Norway, Sweden and Denmark and it continues its ongoing expansion in Europe.
Chargers Drive EV Adoption in Norway
Norway is considered “the world’s most mature EV market,” according to the Couche-Tard press release. The country has half a million EV drivers, according to a recent article published by Time.com. In 2021, nearly 65% of new passenger cars sold in Norway were electric, while another 22% were plug-in hybrid vehicles. Only 14% of new vehicles sold that year had conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) or a hybrid design without a plug.
The availability of EV charging stations may help North American drivers adopt electric vehicles with the same fervor. After all, range anxiety, or the concern that your EV battery will die before you reach an EV charger, is a real thing across many stretches of highway in the U.S.
Making Circle K a Leading Destination for EV Charging
Couche Tard chose Rock Hill, South Carolina, as the prototype site for its first EV charging station in the U.S. The Circle K store is also a new addition to the area. Circle K is already advertising the service on its website, showing how customers can use the Circle K Charge app to receive discounted charging, find chargers near you, and check if they are available.
In addition to providing South Carolina drivers with convenient, affordable charging, with no session fees, so EV drivers only pay for the energy they use, Couche Tard will use the beta site to track the success of the program. It will measure driver usage and the correlation to in-store foot traffic and sales.
Rock Hill, South Carolina, is a thriving metropolis just 25 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina and an hour north of Columbia, South Carolina. It is just 15 minutes from the North Carolina border and is the fifth largest city in South Carolina. A hotbed of industry and home to Winthrop University and the Rock Hill-York County Airport, the city is located on the I-77 corridor, making it a frequent stop for travelers.
The addition of EV chargers at the new Circle K promises to, additionally, make Rock Hill a leading destination for EV charging in North America. The site will serve as inspiration and a model to other businesses taking steps toward sustainability and looking to support a growing number of eco-conscious consumers.
Similarly, the Ontario installation will serve as a beta site and testing ground for going green with EV charging stations at Circle K and Couche-Tard locations across Canada.
“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 in the press release. “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.”