Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: June 19, 2024
Circle K: “We aim to position ourselves as a leading CPO and expand globally”
By Lucía Colaluce

Circle K: “We aim to position ourselves as a leading CPO and expand globally”

The company, headquartered in Canada with a strong presence in Scandinavian countries, has ambitious goals for installing charging points. The Benelux region, Germany, and Ireland are some of the countries Circle K is also deploying charging technology. What criteria do they take into account when choosing a manufacturer?
Circle K evento mayo

Circle K, a convenience store and gas station chain based in Canada, is investing in the transition to electric mobility by installing networks of fast charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) at its locations in Europe and North America.

“We aim to position ourselves as a leading Charging Point Operator (CPO) and expand globally, as we believe it is essential to offer charging and a natural conversion,” says William Pui Martinez, Senior Charger Hardware Manager at Circle K Europe.

William Pui Martinez, Senior Charger Hardware Manager at Circle K Europe.

Furthermore, during the International Mobility Portal Summit organized by Mobility Portal Europe, Pui Martinez reveals that they plan to further expand into Scandinavia, Ireland, and the United States.

Other regions considered are Germany, and the Benelux region, due to the recent acquisition of TotalEnergies.

Due to its expansion projects, Circle K is analyzing the advantages of different charger manufacturers.

What criteria does the company consider when installing them?

The first, and most important for Circle K, is reliability.

“Although it may happen that a charger fails at a certain moment, the speed with which it can be put back into operation is crucial,” explains Pui Martinez.

Therefore, service, service level agreements (SLAs), and maintenance are essential.

The second requirement concerns scalability.

Given its global presence, hardware providers must be able to expand into various nations worldwide, ideally through simple framework agreements that allow for extension to all business units.

The Circle K representative also mentions user-friendliness.

The equipment must be accessible to all users.

This includes ease of handling cables, screen interface, and charger design.

Another important feature is cost-effectiveness, as charging devices must have a competitive price in their segment.

Lastly, Pui Martinez mentions technology.

“The chargers must be future-proof, at least for the next ten years, in line with the expected growth of electric mobility,” he says.

It is worth mentioning that currently, most of the equipment deployed by Circle K is from Alpitronic, with a power in the range of 400 kilowatts.

They also have first-generation ABB chargers in transition and new models on the way.

What are the benefits of auto-charging offered by Circle K?

One feature that distinguishes Circle K charging points is that they provide a function that simplifies the user experience: automatic charging.

What does it entail?

Automatic charging allows, once the user has the Circle K app on their phone, registers their vehicle, and sets their charging preferences, for the process to be seamless.

Circle K chargers.

In this sense, upon arriving at one of the stations, the customer only needs to connect their car, as the transaction and charging process will start automatically.

Pre-configured data is loaded onto a previously created or registered account on the website, streamlining the process to the fullest.

Currently, this system is enabled in Scandinavia and will be rolled out in the rest of the markets as it evolves.

What are the charging trends in Scandinavia?

In the Scandinavian countries, Circle K focuses on several key areas.

In the alternating current (AC) segment, the company offers chargers with simplified functionalities for B2B and B2C markets.

The goal is to ensure that, through a simple radio frequency identification (RFID) system, customers can use these devices at home or in the office easily.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that the company is deploying chargers with a power of around 400 kilowatts.

However, due to limitations in network availability, Circle K began installing batteries at numerous sites.

“This allows supporting the installation of multiple high-power chargers without waiting several years to obtain the necessary power capacity,” acknowledges Pui Martinez.

Additionally, batteries can offer additional grid services, reducing ownership costs and speeding up the charging process, as energy can be used for other purposes when the car is not charging.

On the other hand, the Circle K representative maintains that “the next step in this evolution is megawatt charging”.

The company is already developing test sites with this technology for Europe’s major routes.

Initially, they will be implemented in the Scandinavian region and later expanded to the rest of the European market.

The company aims to expand its truck charging network to approximately many of Circle K’s key locations, from 2024 and onwards.

Regarding this, Pui Martinez comments: “We are deploying chargers as required by the industry”.

And he adds: “We will continue to deploy aggressively to become a major player in the world”.

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