BP and ARCO to Install 45 Electric Car Fast Charging Stations as Part of EV Project

· · 7 years ago

Fresh off its catastrophic destruction of gulf waters, BP (and its subsidiary ARCO) is expressing interest in joining the ranks of companies supportive of electric cars and their charging infrastructure in the U.S. As part of a deal with ECOtality and The EV Project, BP will install DC Fast Charging stations at 45 BP and ARCO locations starting in March 2011.

Following their announcement of the availability of "Blink" DC Fast Charging Stations today, ECOtality will be the exclusive provider of charging equipment to BP and ARCO. The stations will be installed in the major pilot markets of The EV Project which include parts of Arizona, Southern California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Seattle, WA.

“When people think of refueling their cars, they think of gas stations, and we’re excited to work with BP to demonstrate a new way of fueling cars to the American driver,” said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. “We designed our Blink DC fast chargers to meet the needs of both retailers and consumers and make electric vehicles a reality. As BP and ARCO locations are situated along major traffic routes we believe that DC fast charging is ideal for these types of locations.”

One could easily brush this off as a greenwashing campaign and a way for BP to try and smooth its image over with a very angry and skeptical population. But you could also see it as BP realizing that at least part of out transportation future will be taken up by electric cars and getting in early is a way to ensure market penetration. “Individual ownership of electric cars is still a relatively new concept” said Kevin Phelan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with BP. “We understand the importance of finding future energy solutions and this pilot allows us to test EV charging technology, gather real-world data and learn about how motorists use and charge electric vehicles."

DC Fast Charging is a method of charging properly equipped electric cars quickly—adding about 80 miles of range in 20-30 minutes. The Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV will have the option of adding DC Fast Charging outlets at the time of purchase, whereas the Chevy Volt will not.


· Samie (not verified) · 7 years ago

When people dismiss large oil companies as going the way of the dinosaurs I laugh... Nick you are exactly right. Yes, it is public relations but BP's involvement in installing charging stations and increased interest in the electric segment is what is to come for most petro companies, as they will look to other productions of energy (mostly through acquisitions) as ways to diversify their products.

Exactly what role will BP & others play twenty years from now in the EV market? As of now it is a mystery to me. Will BP be interested in EV fueling infrastructure, the mining of metals, production of batteries, or will they try to corner the energy broker segment. Example say supplying 60-80% of the offshore wind-farms or solar installations to the NE utility companies. There is a lot of competition right now so my guess is that for BP they will need to push for more deregulation in domestic energy markets ie changes in what local utilities can and can't do and reduce power and influence that local utility commissions have. For BP they are not going anywhere and will have a heavy hand in various forms of energy for years to come.

· DK (not verified) · 7 years ago

BP now installing charging stations? I can just see the future headlines....

News Flash:

Massive Electron spill at BP Arco station!!....Billions of Electrons flowing uncontrollably into the ground...BP working diligently on how best to cover-up this up...Engineers using proton dispersants to try and hide evidence from public!!

God Help Us All :D

· Eric G (not verified) · 7 years ago

I don't care if BP is doing it for good PR. It is still a step in the right direction and will encourage other oil companies to compete (hopefully). Send some of those fast charge stations down to Texas please!

· · 7 years ago

@ Samie,
I guess the biggest thing that the oil industry had done for EVs to date is their handling of NiMH battery technology. Chevron/Texaco bought Ovonics, the owner of the NiMH battery patent, from GM. They, then, will only license it for automotive use if it only provides some small fraction of the automobile's power. This is readily evident in the paltry amount of electric assist in all of today's hybrid vehicles.

It was also demonstrated in their lawsuit against Toyota for using NiMH batteries in their RAV4EV which effectively shut down the product's development and support.

I don't worry too much about the oil companies seizing control of fast charging infrastructure through building the chargers. I do worry about them setting a mandatory standard which they will be able to use to prevent others from building fast charging equipment and offering the service. There is a battle brewing now over the standards for DC fast charging and it's a turf war. If the oil companies or others who are opposed to electrification of transportation take control of it, it could hamper the deployment of this key technology which is very important to enable EV's to completely replace ICE.

Unfortunately, the concerns for reasonable fast charging standards such as the CHADeMO (TEPCO) standard aren't nearly as well funded as the oil and incumbent automobile interests who are against fast charging.

· JJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

ex-EV1 driver and Nick have some good opposing points of view.
Let's hope Big Oil Co, use these electric stations to advance the coming of EVs and not stiffle it.

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