130 Metro-brand grocery stores to get 500 fast-charging ports
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EV Charging
Jun 6, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

Metro’s EV charging announcement follows in the footsteps of supermarkets Longo’s and IGA

Canadian food retailer Metro Inc. is installing at least 500 fast charging ports at over 130 grocery store locations across Quebec and Ontario. Photo: FLO

Metro’s EV charging announcement follows in the footsteps of supermarkets Longo’s and IGA

Canadian food retailer Metro Inc. is installing at least 500 fast EV charging ports at over 130 grocery store locations across Quebec and Ontario.

Quebec-based charging network, FLO, will own and operate the sites. Each site will get at least two dual-port FLO Ultra fast chargers with at least four ports, says FLO. The stations will provide up to 320 kW of power.

“Through this partnership, we are taking action to reduce our indirect emissions linked to the transport of our customers, while contributing to the collective effort of transition towards a more low-carbon economy,” says Michel Avigliano, vice president of real estate and engineering for Metro, in a press release.

Metro, which operates stores under the Metro, Super C, Food Basics, and Marché Adonis banners, will begin constructing and installing the chargers in August. It will take around three years to complete the entire rollout.

FLO is financing the project with previously announced funding from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank.

“This partnership is about integrating the best EV charging experience into daily life and making it as routine as grocery shopping,” says Louis Tremblay, FLO president and CEO. 

Longo’s adding chargers

The announcement comes at a time when other grocery stores are recognizing the benefits of adding EV charging stations to their locations.

Earlier this year, Ontario-based grocery chain Longo’s committed to installing EV charging infrastructure in its parking lots, with the help of Jule, a Toronto-based sustainable energy provider.

The grocer now has chargers installed at its North Oakville and Markham stores, with additional installations underway at its Rutherford and Winston Churchill locations (all locations in Ontario). The company also plans to install more chargers at two other sites in the future.

At the EV & Charging Expo 2024 in May, Longo’s president, Deb Craven, spoke on a panel about the key reasons that motivated its decision to install EV chargers.

“We’re really happy to support the infrastructure of EV charging stations because we’ve always been focused on sustainability,” said Craven. “The primary driver for us is to be convenient for our guests. Our guests spend an average of about 30 minutes to do a shop, so they were looking for options to knock two things off their list — get their grocery shopping done and charge their car at the same time.”

Jule’s charging system uses battery storage technology that can provide high power to customers without relying on the grid and utilities.

Craven highlighted that the battery storage system allows Longo’s to charge the battery at off-peak times and dispense to EVs when needed during the day. This minimizes the impact on the grid.

Additionally, Craven noted the benefits extend beyond EV charging.

“We are very focused on food waste and trying to eliminate food waste.” In case of a power interruption, the charging system has enough battery capacity to back up refrigeration and freezers in the store for several hours, too.

Installing in dense areas

Meanwhile, in Quebec, the EcoCharge network launched in 2020 as a collaboration between Earth Day Canada — a Quebec-based environmental organization — and Fonds Éco IGA, at participating IGA grocers across Quebec and New Brunswick.

Currently, the network operates 103 charging stations, with an additional 88 ports at 22 sites in development.

At the EV & Charging Expo, Pierre Lussier, president and CEO of Papillons Infrastructure, which manages the EcoCharge network, shared some key insights from its experience with the chargers

“Our top 10 sites are doing twice as much business as the average of all our sites,” he noted. “Population density has way more significant [impact on] the usage of your charger than accessibility, geographic location, or [being close] to a highway.”

For that reason, Lussier advises policymakers and operators to avoid installing Level 2 chargers in densely populated areas, and instead opt for fast chargers to provide customers with power quicker.

Regarding the optimal number of chargers per grocery store, Lussier said that the sweet spot depends on grid capacity and the speed at which utilities can connect new chargers. But ideally, he suggests starting with chargers of 180 kW dynamic charging capacity shared between two ports. This setup would help to create initial demand, and operators can grow the site later on.

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