BP, Arco Stations to Get Electric Car Chargers

DETROIT -- The charging company ECOtality, which announced earlier this week that it plans to add its electric vehicle chargers in a dozen Best Buy locations on the West Coast, signed a new partnership to add the recharging kiosks to BP gas stations and convenience stores, according to a New York Times blog.

"This pilot allows us to test E.V.-charging technology, gather real-world data and learn about how motorists use and charge electric vehicles," Kevin Phelan, vice president for sales and marketing at BP, said in a statement cited by the blog.

ECOtality was expected to announce the deal today, at the Business of Plugging In conference. The agreement covers the installation of its new 480-volt Blink fast charger at approximately 45 BP and Arco gas stations in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Tennessee, according to the report.

"This is the first time Big Oil has invited electric vehicles to the table. We're very excited about this program," said Jonathan Read, ECOtality chief executive, in the report, noting the financial benefits would go to the franchise holders who operate the stations.

The first stations will be installed in March, and they will reside in and around the cities and states that are part of the federally supported E.V. Project, managed by ECOtality. The costly chargers will be installed in the stations at no cost, in markets where the Nissan Leaf electric car will be initially offered to customers, the report stated. The chargers can recharge a Leaf in 26 minutes, Read said in the report.

According to Read, the new Blink-branded fast-charging stations will have a retail price of $25,000 to $40,000. The stations will be set up to use the fast-charging protocol, CHAdeMO, developed by the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is already in use in Japan.

Some 5,700 Nissan Leafs distributed in the E.V. project markets will be equipped with ports to charge using the Japanese standard, according to the report.

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