LAVAL, Quebec — “We’re ready!” That’s Circle K’s response to a General Motors commercial, launched ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, in which comedian Will Ferrell attacks Norway for being ahead of the United States on electric vehicle (EV) charging. In response, Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has launched its own campaign. Norwegian actress Silje Torp Færavaag, a star of the Norsemen series, available on Netflix, and the global convenience-store retailer’s own employees, play leading roles.
Circle K has more charging stations and home and office charging points than any other fuel retailer in Norway, Couche-Tard said. Because of that status, the company says it is “ready for the future today” on charging in the United States.
In the coming months, Couche-Tard will start to roll out EV charging solutions at North American locations, beginning in its Quebec and California markets, with a combination of Circle K-branded chargers and partner charging solutions, the company said.
"We are very pleased to have started our journey in Norway, where Circle K is the No. 1 destination for EV customers,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard. “We are meeting those customers at our stores and in their homes and offices, creating a total solution for their charging needs. With our great team, growing expertise and progressive locations in Norway, we have learned so much in the last few years, and we are excited to bring that knowledge and solutions to our global network, including North America."
For the last three years, Norway has been home to the company's global EV lab, where a team is researching EV charging. Starting this year, Circle K is bringing that knowledge to North America, and plans to be ready as more EV customers hit the road.
Circle K operates a high-speed charging network with more than 500 chargers on its forecourts in Norway. The chargers are a combination of company-owned high-speed EV chargers and partner charging offers with Tesla and Ionity. At its busiest Norwegian Circle K highway locations, the sites are equipped with 20 to 40 high-speed chargers. In downtown Oslo, Circle K was the first to begin replacing fuel pumps with high-speed chargers, the company said. Circle K has also expanded its offer with more than 4,200 home and workplace charge points.
"At our EV lab in Norway, our dedicated teams have gained years of experience in the most mature market for electric vehicles,” said Hans-Olav Høidahl, executive vice president of operations for Europe. “We always want to offer our customers the best possible experience, and Norway provides us the perfect testing conditions for first-generation EV technology including chargers, vehicles and payment methods. I'm proud that Norwegians see Circle K as the leading destination for EV charging, and I look forward to expanding our network of high-speed chargers and home charging solutions outside Norway over the coming months and years."
Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard's network includes 9,261 c-stores in North America, with more than 7,100 in the United States under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac's and Couche-Tard banners. In Europe, under the Circle K and other banners, Couche-Tard operates a retail network in Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia including 2,722 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. And under licensing agreements, more than 2,220 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 15 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam), which brings Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network of approximately 14,200 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores.