A British Petroleum executive has said that the fossil fuel giant’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is close to becoming more profitable than its oil sales.
Oil majors like BP and Shell have been reluctant to welcome a transition to electric cars, for fear of losing money and market share. But now it looks like investing in electric charging could be more profitable than selling fuel according to a report from Reuters.
BP currently operates EV chargers under the name BP Pulse, and originally had ambitions to grow its network size to 16,000 charge points by 2030.
With the company’s fourth quarter and full year 2021 profit reports due to drop in early February, BP head of customers and products Emma Delaney has revealed that its EV charging division is already well on the way to becoming a leading source of revenue.
Indeed, the company, which began investing in Israel-based fast-charging company StoreDot as early as 2018, says that by 2025 its electric charging division could make enough money to be entirely self-sufficient, despite the first few predictions that this business model would result in significant losses for oil companies.
To maximise this profitability, BP now intends to expand its network from 11,000 stations to 70,000 stations by 2030, all of which will be fast chargers capable of reaching speeds of 50-150 kW.
Delaney did not say when profits from EV charging were expected to outpace fuel sales, but did reveal that BP’s electricity sales increased 45% between the second and third quarters of 2021, which indicates an opportunity for growth.
Other oil companies will likely follow suit if it turns out that selling electricity becomes more profitable than selling fossil fuels, which could lead to a massive increase in the number of public charging stations and therefore better infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Shell is also delving deeper into the EV charging market, ditching entire ranks of fuel pumps at some service stations in favour of EV chargers.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.