The electric vehicle community is abuzz with news that BP has followed Ampol’s lead and is installing up to 60 high-speed chargers at various locations in Australia. Called “bp Pulse,” the local ones to us are perfectly located, just north of Brisbane at two BP service centres — one on the north side of the Bruce Highway [named Caboolture North] and one on the south. We drive past them several times a week to pick up our grandchildren. We keep saying we should drop in and have a look. This week we did.
The centres remind me of the services located on motorways in Britain. They are like little villages, shops, plenty of parking spaces, rest areas for the grey nomads, petrol bowsers, and one beautiful tritium charger (news is that BP has now order thousands of these for its worldwide operation).
My only criticism would be that there is no signage at the entrance or within the extremely busy forecourt area to direct you to where the charger is. It is not on PlugShare yet, either. Thankfully, we had been reading posts about it and so were able to follow the directions given by a fellow EV owner.
Sadly, no one was charging, so there was no one to chat to. We parked briefly and took some photos under the curious gazes of passers-by. My red Tesla is still an attention getter. One side of the charger was CCS2 and the other CHAdeMO. I expect that the CCS2 side will get most of the work.
I reached out to my Facebook groups and asked people what their experience was with the new bp Pulse chargers. I got a range of responses, most of them positive of course. Some of the newer chargers are still free. The Pulse app will inform you of charger use and allow you access. Here are some responses:
“The BP at Caboolture North is okay. At least they placed it close to some seats and not far from the door. I’ve used it free and paid. Apart from a handshake issue the first time I used it (I re-plugged and got a charge), it worked fine the other time. 75kW is so much faster than most of the QESH chargers, and the location is pretty good for halfway between Brisbane and the Sunny Coast. I’m sure I’ll use these again.”
“I used one at Coomera (Queensland) yesterday, not because we needed the charge but just to experience it. Cost $0.55/kWh. Fairly straightforward to install and use the app. Only snag was the cable is awkward and was too heavy for the missus.” Nissan was right!
“I used the one in Brighton (Victoria) and it was perfect — 75 kW and free at the time.”
“I don’t think that EV charging at a servo is taken seriously. They assume it’s small group that doesn’t need high visibility so the chargers are normally out in the open away from main refuelling area and also lack cover when pouring rain or storming.” (We need to be aware of the issues of combining electricity and petrol — we don’t want the chargers too close the petrol bowsers.)
“The app will be familiar to many (another EVConnect backend — so very similar to Evie, Jolt, AMPCharge, etc).”
“Great that BP are rolling these out fairly quickly (and with no government funding). They have more stations in the ground already than AMPCharge who started earlier and have won ARENA and NSW government grants, and Engie who are yet to roll out a single site.
“All sites to date are Tritium 75kW sites (though from various videos they can be upgraded) and a mix of dual CCS2 and CCS2/CHAdeMO. It will be interesting to see how BP prioritizes multiple stalls versus network expansion.”
“Haha — They haven’t worked on either of my cars. BMW iX & BYD Atto3.”
“Rolling out more Chademo plugs is insane, and just plain wrong. It’s like handing out Betamax players when everyone had switched to VHS, or vinyl records when everyone had switched to CDs and DVDs, etc. The simple fact is that CCS2 has become the de facto standard in Australia, like it or not! The VERY few Chademo cars on the road are a tiny minority and becoming a smaller percentage every single day. Installing more Chademo plugs is not something that should ever be publicly funded.”
“I used it when it was free initially. Love it, however only 1 CCS2 plug on each station. If that is taken, you would need a chademo adapter to use the chademo plug on the station (not sure if the station can operate with both plugs charging simultaneously) They really need to upgrade these stations to 2 X CCS2 plug, as CCS2 is the majority. They can’t be serious with their charging station rollout from what I can see. Only one car can be charged each time at Caboolture and the speed is not great at 75 kW.”
“Good experience on both north and southbound at Caboolture. Easy to use and worked right away. More expensive than Chargefox. Liked how close charger is to indoor restaurants so can easily pop in and out to check progress (unlike Evie at Coochin Creek where they are further away).
“Coomera (Queensland): Terrible. It was hard to find, poorly signed, hidden in the middle of the carpark, no shade and the unit slows port A to 20kW if someone plugs in next to you. I appreciate them installing these. I sure hope that chargers and EVs are here to stay.”
“Both Caboolture chargers are well located close to the main buildings, which is what we want, rather than some remote and scary corner.”
“I have used the QLD ones at Coomera and Larapinta. They are under-specced at 75 kW, particularly because that is shared between the two ports (CHADEMO/CCS) and particularly when they are priced at 55c/kWh. As others have stated, cables are bulky and very difficult to route to the vehicle. No shade/cover and no other facilities near the charger (e.g., air/water/windscreen wash). No support for RFID, so if you have no mobile service you can’t charge. No integration with PlugShare to show in-use/available as other networks have, so you’re wholly dependent on the app.”
“I’ve only use Marulan, it was free at the time which meant I wasn’t able to record my use in the app. Only negative was despite only being 75 kW it has a very thick and short cable so I wasn’t able to pull it across to the other space, although I believe this unit allows both the Chademo and CCS2 to be used at the same time, obviously it would split the power.
“The staff at BP were also asking me about why I moved spots. I explained I used the first spot as the second one was occupied when I arrived. When the other car left, I tried to plug in but the cable wouldn’t reach, so I had to move spots to the second one.”
“Watch a youtube review here. 1) 75 kW was chosen to fit in with limits in current to the sites. The hardest part of installation is getting the current sorted out. They plan to upgrade later to 150 kW (these are modular chargers) and at least on some sites use some sort of battery buffering. 2) They want to use uptime as a product differentiator. The reviewer makes the point that as a large petrol company they already have extensive monitoring and technical support infrastructure and are training their technicians to handle EV charger repairs as well.”
“I have used one to top up from 60% to 80%, just for fun, and it worked fine. Got max 71 kW and took 20 minutes.”
“I would be interested to know what determines the charger capacity choices in each location. I do know that fast chargers need a substantial power supply. For example, the 4 and potentially 6 x 350kW chargers at Sutton Forest (NSW Highlands) flat out would need a supply the same as for a small town. Typically, the average house load is rated at 5kW, hence you are asking for the supply for a village of hundreds of dwellings. If the capacity is not already there it would be very expensive to provide it just for the chargers.”
“Fairly uneventful in a good way. Surprisingly I would have struggled to find a park if I wasn’t charging, yet both bays were clear.”
And that’s what we want — no surprises, everything works, charging an EV as a normal experience.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Source: Clean Technica