By Colin Bird on October 14, 2010
BP Products of North America plans to install 45 quick-charging ports for electric cars at its existing gas stations by the end of March 2011.
The direct current fast-charging systems (480-volt, three-phase alternating current input) that BP will be installing are the fastest method for charging electric vehicles. The Blink charging station, which is made by ECOtality, will be able to charge a Nissan Leaf to 80% capacity in 26 minutes – as opposed to eight hours with a 220-volt charger – and a Mitsubishi i-Miev in 20 minutes. The Chevrolet Volt is not compatible with DC charging. Each Blink EV charging station is capable of charging two EVs at once.
BP’s announcement is a part of the EV Project, which is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and ECOtality, a private firm.
BP controls BP- and Amoco-branded gas stations, which is where the charging stations will be installed.
The 45 locations will be in select markets that are closely correlated with the initial launch markets for the Leaf. According to ECOtality, those markets include Phoenix; Tucson, Ariz.; San Diego; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; Eugene, Ore.; Salem, Ore.; Corvallis, Ore.; Seattle; Nashville, Tenn.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.
There’s no mention on how much you’ll be charged to “fuel” up your EV in BP's announcement. BP’s aim from this experiment is much like what Best Buy said about its EV charging ports, which is to gain knowledge about consumer habits. From there, who knows? After all, the company is only installing charging stations at 45 of its 11,000 gas stations. There's plenty room for growth if this supposed revolution actually takes off.
If you’re still boycotting BP because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times points out that none of the money from the charging stations will financially benefit the corporation. Only local gas station franchise owners will reap the rewards from the stations.