BP acquires UK’s largest electric vehicle charging network

BP has agreed to buy Chargemaster, the operator of the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, as it looks to diversify the types of vehicle that can refuel at its garages.

BP plans to use the company’s technology to roll out ultra-fast chargers across its 1,200 petrol stations in the country over the next 12 months.

Operating under the new name of BP Chargemaster, the company will roll out an ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150kW chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes.

In addition to BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Volkswagen and Daimler have all made acquisitions and investments in an effort to tap into rapid growth in electric vehicles, which is being driven by regulation and a move away from fossil fuels.

London-based BP, which has not yet disclosed how much it has paid for Chargemaster, estimates that there will be 12 million electric vehicles (EVs) on Britain’s roads by 2040, up from around 135,000 in 2017.

“A key part of BP’s strategy to advance the energy transition is to develop new offers to meet changing customer demand and grow new businesses that support customers to reduce their emissions,” said Tufan Erginbilgic, BP’s downstream chief executive.

Electric vehicles are predominantly used in urban areas, but carmakers, battery manufacturers and power providers are looking to extend their usage, including by installing fast chargers on highway networks.

“We believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles,” Erginbilgic said.

Chargemaster already operates more than 6,500 electric vehicle (EV) charging points across Britain.

In January, BP invested $5m in FreeWire Technologies which manufactures mobile EV rapid-charging systems. A month later it linked up with the Franco-Japanese strategic car-making partnership Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to develop new battery technology.

In February, BP said that it predicted that self-driving vehicles and electric engines will deplete demand for fossil fuels by 2040, the first time the company has forecasted a peak in demand. 

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