BP on Thursday announced a $100 million order for Tesla DC fast chargers, marking the first time Tesla chargers have been purchased for use by a third-party EV charging network.
The Tesla chargers will be deployed as early as 2024 at gas stations, Travel Centers of America locations, and planned charging hubs to be located near airports and in major metropolitan areas, as well as with some commercial fleet customers, BP said in a press release.
Chargers will have an output of up to 250 kw, and will accept both Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) as well as Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connectors. They’ll be branded for BP Pulse, the brand name the oil company uses for its EV charging stations.
BP Gigahub EV charging site rendering
While they will be considered third-party chargers and not part of the formal Tesla Supercharger network, the BP-operated chargers will still appear on the Tesla app and in-car displays as long as they meet certain “reliability and functionality requirements,” BP noted.
As other automakers adopt the NACS connector, it remains to be seen whether Tesla Supercharger reliability will extend to other EVs. The BP deal now asks the same question of the Tesla charging hardware itself.
BP has been steadily building up its EV charging network. In February it announced plans to invest $1 billion in American EV charging infrastructure by 2030, with $500 million in the next two to three years.
Nissan Leaf electric car using DC fast-charging station at BP in Metrolina area of Charlotte, NC
The company’s plans include the aforementioned charging hubs, the first of which will service ride-hailing vehicles at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). BP said in 2022 that the hub would have 48 charging ports, with an estimated 6,400 ride-hailing vehicles using the site daily by 2027.
Many BP charging sites are co-located with gas stations, though. The company has found that, at least in some situations, EV chargers can be almost as profitable as gas pumps.
When envisioned by designers, the charging station of the future looks more like a travel oasis than a gas station—although a wide range of formats is surely needed.