UNDER EMBARGO – Canadian convenience store operator Parkland deploys electric vehicle charging network in British Columbia
By Allison Lampert
June 21 (Reuters) – Parkland Corp said Monday it will open up to 100 ultra-fast electric vehicle charging ports in British Columbia by 2022, creating the province’s largest network in number of locations , compared to a handful in Canada today.
Calgary-based Parkland, the second-largest convenience store operator in Canada, said it will invest C $ 10 million ($ 8.09 million) in the network at approximately 25 of the company’s existing retail locations. Vancouver Island in Calgary.
“What we can offer our customers are charging stations every 100 to 150 kilometers (93.2 miles) along major roads,” Parkland chief executive Bob Espey told Reuters.
Most sites will incorporate a restaurant and convenience store for customers to use for the estimated 20 minutes it will take their vehicles to charge, generating additional revenue.
Oil companies and convenience store operators are betting on higher profits in the age of electric vehicles through sales of groceries and snacks in retail networks, which are expected to remain a key stopover for motorists.
“The opportunity here is that the average energy sale will drop from 90 seconds to 20 minutes,” Espey said. “With this dwell time, we expect that not only will we be able to charge for energy, but people to spend more time at our sites.”
British Columbia had nearly 55,000 zero-emission vehicles as of December 2020 and was a North American leader in ZEV purchases in North America last year, with new sales averaging 9.4%, according to a provincial government report.
Espey said future deployments of electric vehicle chargers will depend on the number of cars sold, which varies across Canada.
Although the use of electric vehicles remains relatively low in North America, convenience store operators must adapt as these numbers increase, analysts say.
“When you go from 7% to 15%, that’s a lot of vehicles you can’t count on anymore,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
Biggest rival Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc has an extensive network of charging ports in countries like Norway and plans to deploy in Canada and the United States.
The sale of electric cars overtook gasoline, diesel and hybrid cars in Norway in 2020.
Parkland is not present in Europe. ($ 1 = 1.2358 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)