Currently reading: EV chargers almost as profitable as fuel pumps, says BP
EV charging has been seen as a loss leader in the past, but the tide is beginning to turn

BP's electric vehicle fast chargers will soon be more profitable than fuel pumps, according to the British oil giant.

BP reportedly expects the switch to happen by 2025. It comes off the back of the firm's recent investment in EV charging, having acquired Chargemaster – now called BP Pulse – in 2018.

A BP spokesman explained that the reason lies in the clamour for more chargers: “Demand has spiked and we’re investing in the infrastructure.”

The firm plans to expand its EV charging business in the coming years from 11,000 charging points to 70,000 by 2030 globally. 

It told Autocar: “We're focusing on putting chargers in China, Europe, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and we made our first play in the US a few months ago, when we purchased the charging company Amply.”

BP isn't currently disclosing profit or loss details from EV charging. But in accounts filed in 2020, it reported a gross margin of $3.7 billion (£2.6bn) for retail fuel sales, despite volumes being 14% lower for the year.

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BP has committed to investing $2.5bn (£1.8bn) per year into its global infrastructure, including EV charging, by 2030. That represents a rise from $1.5bn (£1.1bn) in 2019. 

Most of BP’s investment has been in DC fast-charging infrastructure, defined as more than 50kW. Despite this charging rate not being as fast as those offered by the likes of Ionity and the Tesla Supercharger network, it still requires considerable capital investment.

The increasing profitability of chargers marks BP’s shift from oil into greener forms of power; and with increasing charge speeds, the firm is placing a higher value on customer convenience.

“We want to create the fastest, most convenient [charger] network globally, putting them on retail sites where you can refuel your ICE car, so you have the convenience element wherever you are," said the spokesman.

"As well as a fast charger to charge your car within five to 10 minutes, [customers will also be able to] grab a drink, use our wi-fi or [do] anything else they wish to do."

BP isn’t the only ‘big oil’ firm investing in the charging network: Shell has also committed to having 500,000 chargers globally by 2025.

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However, the traditional petrol pump is far from dead in BP's view, and it's continuing to invest in petrol and diesel fuel infrastructure.

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