Fuelling growth

With Ireland’s leading forecourt brands continuing to deliver world-class standards and innovation, here we take a look at some of the major developments and news driving growth within the sector


Brand Central

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23 June 2023

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Forecourt owners are constantly adapting to new trends and requirements and to stay ahead of the curve. Between franchising, partnerships, and investments, the forecourt has changed into something more all-encompassing and profitable in recent years. Going forward, the need for charging points within fuel station forecourts will be key for the ongoing growth of the industry. Indeed, by 2030, up to 20% of all registered vehicles in Europe will be electric vehicles (EVs), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The flourishing foodservice aspect of forecourts will also continue to develop further with Ireland’s leading forecourt brands driving ever-greater innovation.

Forging ahead

In April, the 2023 Maxol Retail Conference held at The K Club in Kildare outlined the brand’s plans for continued expansion. Maxol will continue to grow the company in Ireland through the acquisition of established convenience forecourt stores and the purchase of land adjoining existing sites to improve facilities and services for customers.

CEO, Brian Donaldson also revealed that at the time, the company was at an advanced stage of negotiations to acquire a number of sites and parcels of land across the country. The growth plans are part of the Irish, family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer’s recently announced 2023-2027 strategy, which will see an investment of €100m in its network over the next five years.

“We are particularly interested in businesses that already have a strong convenience and food offering, as this is the direction in which our business model has been moving for a number of years,” said Donaldson. “Our five-year plan is to continue to evolve our business mix, further reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and increasing our non-fuel revenues by focusing on key categories from coffee, food to go and grocery, whilst also being recognised as a leader in quality advanced fuels and new energies for mobility.”

New EV hubs

Brian Donaldson updated Maxol’s retailers on plans to develop a series of EV Ultra Rapid Hubs around the country, the first of which was launched in Maxol Kinnegar, Co Down in December. This marked the first dedicated Ultra Rapid EV hub in Northern Ireland, complete with four high-speed chargers servicing up to six vehicles simultaneously, adding to the three other EV charging points Maxol has in place in Antrim and Belfast under the Maxol Recharge brand.

“Maxol Kinnegar has provided us with a blueprint for how we will continue to transition the business in line with the rise in low and zero emission vehicles,” he said. “And now, I’m excited to be able to announce today that proposals for EV charging at Braid River in Ballymena, Maxol Newbridge and Maxol Ballycoolin, Co. Dublin are planned this year.”

While challenges in relation to grid access and energy capacity prevail, Brian Donaldson said that he believed the transition to EVs would continue and be a success, in time, but that Maxol’s EV strategy is to roll out services gradually, prioritising sites where demand is greatest.

Brian Donaldson also reflected on landmark moments from the past ten years, which included a €225m investment in the business, the acquisition of 25 new sites, completion of 70 developments and the company’s centenary anniversary in 2020.


Now, the company will continue to develop its best-selling ‘hero’ categories, including its proprietary ROSA Coffee with a new range of iced coffee drinks and oat milk drinks, and freshly prepared foods, as customer buying behaviours evolve. Brian Donaldson referenced hybrid working as a driver of business for its stores, the majority of which are located in residential neighbourhoods. “Where people are now working from home two or three days each week, we are servicing their needs from breakfast through to evening with different meal solutions,” said Donaldson.

Maxol has seen a direct correlation between the move to a hybrid working model and increased footfall in its stores with some exceptions – those sites that are closest to Dublin city centre that would have traditionally benefited from commuter traffic, five days a week.

In addition to investments in acquiring new sites, food service, EV Ultra Rapid Hubs and technology, Maxol has planned to continue to upgrade to low CO2 refrigeration, install energy management systems and use renewable sources such as solar and heat pumps to reduce its carbon footprint.

Circle K’s new own-brand EV chargers

Pictured at the launch at Circle K, Junction 5 M9, Co. Carlow are Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K Ireland.

Meanwhile, last month, Circle K also announced that is launching a new range of own-brand electric vehicle (EV) chargers across its network over the next two years. In total, Circle K will invest €7 million to install EV chargers at over 30 Circle K forecourts across Ireland by 2025.

This investment enhances Circle K’s existing network of EV chargers, which is already the most extensive across the Irish forecourt and convenience retail industry, through its strategic partnerships with ESB, IONITY and Tesla, with chargers located at 42 service stations.

Circle K’s first two own brand EV charge points have opened at Circle K Junction 5, M9, Rathcrogue, Co. Carlow, and Circle K Junction 14, M8, Gortore, Fermoy, Co. Cork. These first two locations will offer charging speeds of up to 300kW, with future chargers to offer 150kW, giving EV drivers the ability to easily charge their vehicles quick and conveniently.

With EVs at the heart of the Irish government’s plans to decarbonise the transport sector, as outlined in the Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025, Circle K is committed to supporting this strategy through the enhancement of its own EV charging network and growing the EV charging infrastructure nationwide.

“The announcement builds on our existing EV offering and confirms our ambition to support Irish motorists in their transition to electric vehicles, helping support the government’s EV targets. We are excited to introduce our new high-speed, reliable, strategically placed charging points and look forward to welcoming customers to our locations,” said Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K Ireland.

“EV is something we have been extremely focussed on for a number of years,” he continued. “Being part of the Circle K global network means we have access to the very latest thinking and key developments on EV charging, especially from our colleagues in Norway who are leading the way in terms of electrification. This, coupled with our expertise locally, puts us in a very strong position to support our customers. We intend to use this expertise in the years ahead to continue adding chargers to our network.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan praised the development, stating that it will “support the government’s goal of rapidly increasing the number of publicly accessible chargers across Ireland and will help to give even more motorists the confidence to make the switch to an electric vehicle.”











Fact File

Name of operator: Maxol
Number of locations: 241 (112 company owned)
Typical forecourt size: Sites can range in size from 0.08 acres to 2.5 acres.
Head office: The Maxol Group, 3 Custom House Plaza, IFSC, Dublin 1
Website: www.maxol.ie
Social media: @themaxolgroup
Tagline: At the heart of it




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