BP seeks stranded Tesla Supercharger sites in $1B EV charging buildout

BP is eying Tesla Supercharger sites as part of a planned expansion of the oil giant’s U.S. charging network, Bloomberg reports.

The company said it “is aggressively looking to acquire real estate to scale our network, which is a heightened focus following the recent Tesla announcement.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier this month fired most of the Tesla Supercharger team in a shift away from further fast-paced growth of the public charging network. BP now appears ready to capitalize on that.

“If there are stranded real estate partners who are looking for someone to call, they should feel free to pick up the phone and call me or look me up on LinkedIn,” Sujay Sharma, CEO of BP Pulse Americas, the corporate arm in charge of the company’s U.S. charging network, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Highway sign for electric-car fast-charging station at BP in Metrolina area of Charlotte, NC

BP reportedly plans to spend $1 billion by 2030, half of that amount within the next two or three years, to install over 3,000 chargers in the U.S. That will include large-scale sites with 12 or more chargers that BP calls Gigahubs.

It first offered EV charging in 2010 and started a serious push in 2017. BP sees EV charging as a business line bound for profitability, with one executive saying in 2022 that chargers were already almost as profitable as gasoline pumps. It’s not the only oil company enthusiastic about charging: Shell announced earlier this year that it’s shedding some gas stations in favor of EV charging.

Nissan Leaf electric car using DC fast-charging station at BP in Metrolina area of Charlotte, NC

The BP charging buildout will be complemented by expansion plans from dedicated charging networks. Electrify America, which was created as part of a fine for Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions cheating, also this week confirmed an expansion push through this year. And Ionna, the national EV charging network funded by investments from seven automakers, is looking to open its first stations this year, on the way to a minimum of 30,000 fast-chargers across North America.

Automaker commitments to the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector means, regardless of the gutting of the Tesla Supercharger team, NACS will likely continue to proliferate on these alternative networks. But when it comes to reliability, merely switching to the NACS connector won’t solve much; it’s about interoperability and keeping on top of the software updates to enable that—plus maintenance.