- BP Chargemaster to roll out chargepoints to filling stations
- Fast and ultra-fast systems will be available to top up your BEV
- Installation to start within 12 months; BP has 1,200 forecourts
BP has announced it’ll buy Chargemaster, the UK’s biggest electric car charging company.
The news represents a significant move for the British energy firm best known for its fossil fuel extraction, refinement and sale for use in traditionally powered cars and vans with internal combustion engines.
The two organisations will form BP Chargemaster, and roll out fast and ultra-fast chargepoints to forecourts across the country over the next 12 months, including some 150kW units that the firm claims will be able to provide 100 miles of range for your electric vehicle in 10 minutes. That’ll depend on your choice of vehicle, however.
BP has 1,200 filling stations in the UK, while Chargemaster had already installed 6,500 chargepoints across the country, and this acquisition by BP is set to rapidly accelerate the infrastructure needed for drivers to move away from petrol and diesel, and towards battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster said ‘The acquisition of Chargemaster by BP marks a true milestone in the move towards low carbon motoring in the UK. I am truly excited to lead the Chargemaster team into a new era backed by the strength and scale of BP, which will help us maintain our market-leading position and grow the national POLAR charging network to support the large range of exciting new electric vehicles that are coming to market in the next couple of years.’
Electric car long-term tests on Parkers:
A key issue with electric vehicles has been installing enough public charging spots for buyers to top up their batteries and alleviate range anxiety – where drivers feel an electric vehicle won’t be able to meet their needs due to the fact they usually have a much lower maximum range than the equivalent petrol and diesel engine of similar performance.
Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP Downstream, said: ‘At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles. 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.’
However, this move should also help mitigate the inevitable blow to BP’s business from the Government’s new-found hardline stance on traditional petrol and diesel cars, with the latter being hit especially hard in taxation for both private, business and commercial drivers, both at the filling pumps and through VED and benefit-in-kind levies.
Since BP garages have M&S shops and Wildbean Cafes that generate significant revenue, this move should allow that side of the business to continue to thrive too as drivers will need something to do while they’re waiting for their car to charge.
BP is estimating that there will be 12 million BEVs on UK roads by 2040. There were 135,000 in 2017.
This news is a much-needed boost for BP's environmental credentials in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 - a disaster widely recognised as the worst environmental disaster in US history. BP was officially blamed for the spill in 2016.