BP takes over UK's largest public EV charging company
BP has announced that it has purchased the UK's largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company, Chargemaster, in the latest sign of an oil giant adapting to the growth of battery-powered cars.
The oil firm’s venture arm announced the £130m deal on Thursday (June 29), confirming that it would be rolling out fast EV charging points across its 1,200 petrol station forecourts over the next 12 months.
The 150kW rapid chargers will be capable of delivering 100 miles of range in 10 minutes, BP said in a statement.
BP Downstream’s chief executive, Tufan Erginbilgic, said the move, which will see BP operate Chargemaster’s 6,500 public EV charging points, will deliver a “truly differentiated offer” for the country's growing number of electric vehicle owners.
"At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles," Erginbilgic said in a statement.
"Combining BP's and Chargemaster's complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home."
The move by BP follows a similar initiative from rival Shell, which last year purchased Dutch EV charge point company NewMotion in a bid to expand and improve its green mobility offering across Europe.
It also comes shortly after plans to build the UK’s first battery storage and rapid EV charging network, which will see 45 new battery sites developed nationwide at electricity sub-stations, was unveiled by the National Grid. The project forms the world’s biggest network of grid-scale 50MW batteries.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has predicted that EVs will account for more than half of new car sales by 2040, with its most recent analysis finding that “the EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster” than it anticipated in 2017.
However, the BNEF research noted that the pace of the EV revolution could be hindered by far slower investment growth in infrastructure. Similarly, the Department for Transport has identified a lack of charging infrastructure as one of the three biggest barriers to EV adoption in the UK, along with distance travelled per charge and vehicle cost.
In a bid to bridge the infrastructure gap, BP has launched research into combined renewable arrays, battery storage systems and charging networks.
The shift towards EV facilities also forms part of the oil firm’s low-carbon strategy, which outlines plans to generate reductions of 3.5m tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually throughout its businesses by 2025.