EV charging is not cost competitive at retail stations: Phillips 66

FILE PHOTO: Flags wave in front of the Phillips 66 refinery near Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S. October 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stephanie Kelly

(Reuters) - Electric vehicle charging in retail stations is “not a runaway bestseller” for Phillips 66 because charging is slower and “awfully expensive” compared with the cost of charging at home, the U.S. refiner’s chief economist Horace Hobbs said at an energy conference on Tuesday.

Less than 2% of the refiner’s 7,000 retail locations in the United States and Europe have electric vehicle charging capability.

Phillips has to ask consumers to pay a higher price for electricity at their public stations than what customers would pay charging their cars at home, Hobbs said on a downstream energy panel at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek virtually-held conference.

“There’s not a fleet out there today to keep the chargers running at a rate that would support economically putting it in more of the facilities,” Hobbs said.

The refiner has had the most success with electric charging in European urban areas where parking is more expensive, and customers use charging stations as parking.

While Phillips 66 expects electric vehicle penetration to grow in the United States in the near future, most users will likely charge their cars at their homes, Hobbs said.

“We think that’s the optimal solution - the least expensive electricity and get the most satisfied customer out of it,” he said.

Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by Marguerita Choy