Everyone is bitching about the horrible state of EV charging. Either the damn things are broken or they require a Byzantine log-in process before they will dispense any electrons — not fun if you are standing out in the pouring rain on a dark night on the outskirts of East Overshoe or South Succotash.
Of all the charging options out there, only the Tesla Supercharger network is fast and reliable. British Petroleum insists on calling itself bp, perhaps in hopes that people will forget it was responsible for one of the worst oil pollution disasters in history when its Deepwater Horizon oil rig failed in spectacular fashion and spewed crude all over the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, bp is trying awfully hard to position itself as a willing participant in the transition to a low carbon economy, which is rather hard to do when it continues to be one of the world’s major oil and gas suppliers, but at least it is doing something. Companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron are telling us all to go whistle while they cancel any “green” initiatives and ramp up their oil and case production plans.
$100 Million For Tesla Superchargers
BP (sorry, bp) wants to do its part to save the planet by becoming a major player in the EV charging industry. And it is not doing it in some sort of “excuse me” sort of way. It has looked around at all the charger manufacturers, done its due diligence, and placed a $100 million dollar order for Tesla Superchargers.
How many Superchargers can you buy for that amount of money? Around the CleanTechnica vegan juice bar this week, the consensus among the gang of idiots who work here is that $50,000 apiece sounds like the right number. We admit we have little to base that figure on other than intuition. It’s for certain sure Tesla wouldn’t respond to any request for information, so we are going with our gut, so to speak.
Our WAG? 2000 chargers. That obviously doesn’t include the cost of installation and connecting to the electrical grid. Figure another $100 million for that part of the process. Add it all together and add a modest amount for incidentals and imponderables and the result is a nearly a quarter billion dollars to become a player in the EV charger game. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
The EV charging arm of bp is known as bp pulse. In a press release, the company said the investment will facilitate the expansion of the bp pulse public network across the US, while also enabling support for EV fleet customers by deploying chargers at their private depots. The introduction of Tesla’s chargers to the bp pulse network is the first time the Tesla chargers will be purchased for an independent EV charging network.
Beginning In 2024
The roll-out is planned to begin in 2024 and locations will include key sites across the bp family of brands, including TravelCenters of America, Thorntons, ampm; and Amoco, as well as at bp pulse’s large-scale Gigahub charging sites in major metropolitan areas and at third-party locations such as Hertz rental centers. The first installation sites have been identified in Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
Tesla chargers will also be deployed at select bp pulse fleet customer depots. By pairing bp pulse’s industry-leading, intelligent charge management software, Omega, with Tesla’s fast and reliable chargers, bp pulse gains the distinctive capability to oversee the entire charging process for EV fleets, providing a comprehensive solution for its fleet customers.
“Strengthening the bp pulse network with Tesla’s industry-leading hardware is a major step forward in our ambitions for high speed, open access charging infrastructure in the US and advances our ambition to delivering an exceptional customer experience,” said Richard Bartlett, global CEO of bp pulse. “Combined with our vast network of convenience and mobility sites on and off the highway, this collaboration with Tesla will bring fast and reliable charging to EV drivers when and where they need it.”
Tesla Superchargers With The bp Brand
The Tesla 250 kW ultra-fast chargers will be branded, installed, and operated by bp pulse. The chargers will be fitted with Tesla’s ‘Magic Dock’, which is compatible with both NACS and CCS connectors. This enables EVs from other major vehicle manufacturers to use the Tesla chargers on the bp pulse network. To further improve user experience, the Tesla chargers will support use of the Plug and Charge protocol, which simplifies and automates payments. As is Tesla’s current policy, third-party operated ultra-fast chargers meeting Tesla’s reliability and functionality requirements are featured in Tesla’s vehicle UI and apps, and bp pulse expects to uphold those requirements on its network.
“Strengthening the bp pulse network with Tesla’s industry leading hardware is a major step forward in our ambitions for high speed, open access charging infrastructure in the US and advances our ambition to delivering an exceptional customer experience,” said Richard Bartlett, CEO of bp pulse. (Perhaps that should be written as ceo?)
Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure, said: “At Tesla, we’re driven to enable great charging experiences for all EV owners. Selling our fast-charging hardware is a new step for us, and one we’re looking to expand in support of our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. We appreciate bp’s partnership in this area — it’s the right step towards a more sustainable future.”
Expanding The bp pulse Charging Network
In addition to this deal with Tesla, bp pulse expects to continue deploying additional fast and reliable charging points at high demand locations such as airports, major metropolitan areas, and bp-owned properties along Alternative Fueling Corridors. Furthermore, bp has been awarded grant funds through programs like National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) and California Energy Commission (CEC) to provide charging infrastructure at sites in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Kentucky.
In February 2023, bp announced plans to invest $1 billion in America’s EV charging infrastructure by 2030 with an aim of investing $500 million in the next two to three years. Its five transition growth engines — bioenergy, convenience, EV charging through its charging business bp pulse, hydrogen, renewables and power — made up around 30% of bp’s total investment in 2022, up from around 3% in 2019.
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