Parkland Corp. is doubling the size of its previously announced electric vehicle charging network with a focus on British Columbia, which leads the country in EV adoption.
The Calgary-based fuel retailer said Friday it will now install 50 ultra-fast charging stations on highways and in major destinations from Vancouver Island to Calgary, instead of the previously announced 25.
READ MORE: Parkland partners with US-based FreeWire on EV charging network
The locations will be able to charge most electric vehicle models within 20 to 30 minutes and will be located across the company’s existing Chevron and On The Run retail portfolio in BC and Alberta.
As of September, EVs accounted for 17.5 per cent of new light-duty passenger vehicles sold in BC this year, making the province a logical place to focus the bulk of the network, says Darren Smart, Parkland’s senior vice-president of energy transition and corporate development.
In Vancouver, for example, Parkland’s On the Run network is expected to nearly triple the existing number of ultra-fast chargers in the city’s metro area — an indication that the company is betting big on the BC market.
“There are some other provinces in Canada that are on BC’s heels, but I think we’ll see it play out a little differently in each province,” Smart said in an interview.
“We’ll keep an eye on it, and as we see that demand is starting to justify going into new markets, we’ll try to do that.”
READ MORE: Electric vehicle charging stations being installed in Leduc
Parkland is also focusing on customer experience, betting that EV drivers will spend money on food and retail items while waiting for their car to charge. To attract customers, all loading bays will be fully staffed, have an On The Run convenience store and most will have a restaurant.
Parkland said customers will also benefit from an integrated digital experience through the Journie Rewards app and washrooms will be upgraded.
Alert cancelled, 2 arrested after early morning shooting near Fredericton
Prince William and Kate Middleton booed while attending Boston Celtics game
Hammer falls on Kanye West after praising Hitler, posts swastika
Bank of Canada is expected to deliver interest rate hikes next week. How high will it go?
“There are many examples in the market where the charger is off in the corner in a poorly lit area, and that’s where we feel the market has done a disservice to EV customers,” Smart said.
“You come to our site, and the charger is located in a place where it’s easy to get into the convenience store, it’s well lit, and we create that connection between the charger and all the amenities that we have on the site has.”
Vancouver City Council recommends additional electric vehicle chargers
EV charging is becoming an increasingly competitive space for traditional gasoline retailers as they try to attract a growing number of electric car drivers in Canada.
Suncor Energy announced earlier this week that it is targeting EV charging as part of a larger plan to increase revenue from its Petro-Canada retail network. Earlier this week, interim CEO Kris Smith told attendees at the company’s annual investor day that investment in EV charging will help offset expected lower gasoline sales in the future.
“We expect gasoline demand could decline by up to 25 percent by the mid-to-late 2030s, based on current government regulations, and forecast EV penetration,” Smith said.
READ MORE: Suncor retains Petro Canada retail business after comprehensive review
In October, Imperial Oil Ltd. announced that it has signed an agreement with FLO, a Quebec-based manufacturer of EV charging stations, to develop a charging service option for Imperial’s Esso and Mobil brand wholesalers.
“A lot of people are very focused on this space and moving fast,” Smart said. “Everyone sees EV penetration increasing and wants to play in this space.”
However, Smart emphasized that Parkland does not foresee demand for traditional gasoline disappearing anytime soon.
“Even though there are more EVs as part of new car sales every year, it takes a long time for the fleet on the road to turn around. In Norway, for example, 80 percent of new vehicles are EVs, but 80 percent of the fleet is still conventional engines,” Smart said.
“We are positioned to service that demand, whether it is a conventional vehicle or an electric vehicle.”
Parkland expects to complete its initial 25 charging locations by the end of the year, with the next 25 locations to be completed in early 2024.
The company declined to disclose a total dollar value for its EV charging project, though it said it will receive $6.8 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada and the government of British Columbia to support its plan.
© 2022 The Canadian Press