Oil giant BP plans to launch a series of large EV fast-charging “Gigahubs” aimed at ride-hailing vehicles.
The first of these hubs will be built near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in collaboration with rental-car firm Hertz, and will be funded in part by a $2 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), BP said in a press release.
BP said that 48 charging ports would be installed in this first hub, with an estimated 6,400 ride-hailing fleet EVs using the site daily by 2027.
The site is near an existing Hertz facility. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year calling for BP, via its BP Pulse business, to oversee charging for Hertz, which plans to add tens of thousands of EVs from Tesla, Polestar, and General Motors to its fleet by 2024.
More than 25,000 Uber drivers have rented vehicles from Hertz to date, Jeff Nieman, the company’s senior vice president of operations initiatives, said in a statement. The number of those drivers using EVs should increase significantly in the coming years.
California in 2021 approved an EV mandate for Uber and Lyft that will ramp up a growing portion of their fleets to fully electric between 2023 and 2030. Ride-hailing needs to go all-electric, as 2019 data found that 39% of the miles covered by on-duty ride-hailing drivers were “deadhead miles” with no passenger.
At the same time, most charging-infrastructure programs to date have overlooked ride-hailing drivers. Many charging networks are looking to facilitate road-trip charging by spanning intercity route gaps, but to aid ride hailing urban fast-charging stations will likely be needed. That could also help city residents who use EVs as their personal cars, as they don’t currently have many charging options.
BP plans to expand its current network to 100,000 chargers globally by 2030 as it looks to diversify from fossil fuels. The company, earlier this year, said that its fast-chargers are almost as profitable as gas pumps, on a margin basis.
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