Oil supermajor BP said on Thursday that it would buy the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company, Chargemaster, in the latest show of Big Oil’s move into EV charging networks.
Chargemaster, which has more 6,500 EV charging points across the UK, also designs, builds, sells, and maintains EV charging units for a wide range of locations, including for home charging.
After the acquisition is completed, Chargemaster will be re-branded to BP Chargemaster and will operate as a wholly owned BP entity. BP Chargemaster will combine Chargemaster’s EV charging network with BP’s 1,200 service stations in a move that will widen access to electric vehicle charging in the UK, BP said.
BP Chargemaster will rollout ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150 kW chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.
“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,” said Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP Downstream. Related: Hefty Inventory Draw Boosts Oil Prices
BP expects the number of EVs on UK roads to reach 12 million by 2040, up from some 135,000 in 2017.
Earlier this year, BP said that its venturing business had invested US$5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a U.S.-based manufacturer of mobile EV rapid charging systems, and plans to roll out FreeWire’s Mobi Charger units for use at selected BP retail sites in the UK and Europe in 2018.
Last year, another oil major—Shell—signed a deal to buy one of Europe’s biggest EVs charging networks, Netherlands-based NewMotion.
Shell has also partnered with a consortium involving some of Europe’s largest carmakers to build a network of EV fast-charging stations across the continent. Initially, the charging stations will be installed at 80 highway Shell sites, beginning in 2019.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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