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Petroleum Giant BP to Install EV Chargers at Gas Stations across Europe

Author: Michael Cheng   

Businesses in the oil and gas sector are dealing with the surge in electric cars in different ways. Some are ignoring the automotive trend, while others are embracing it. BP, a leading petrol brand, is siding with the latter option.   

The company recently announced a firm commitment to install EV charging stations at its gas stations across Europe. In a report published last month, BP analysts acknowledged the rise of EVs and are seeking out new strategies to stay relevant. The petrol firm's largest competitor, Shell, is implementing a similar plan, coupled with a whopping $2 billion pledge to kick start its sustainable energy goals.

Catering to Electrified Vehicles

BP will not be venturing into the EV industry alone. The business invested in Silicon Valley-based FreeWire, to streamline development. FreeWire specializes in fast-charging systems for EVs, which can fully charge a Nissan Leaf within 30 minutes. BP plans to start deployment at selected gas stations by the end of this year.

It is important to point out that the establishment is particularly interested in leveraging mobile charging stations over permanent EV charging solutions. This suggests the possibility of expanding its EV charging services beyond gas stations. BP may implement similar technologies for its electric trucking and service fleets (in the future).

"Using FreeWire's mobile system we can respond very quickly and provide charging facilities at forecourts where we see the greatest demand without needing to make significant investments in today's fixed technologies and infrastructure," said BP Downstream chief executive, Tufan Erginbilgic.

BP's strategy seems to be nearly identical with its rival, Shell. The petrol business acquired NewMotion, an Amsterdam-based smart-charging technology startup, in 2017. NewMotion currently operates over 30,000 EV charging points across Europe.

As mentioned earlier, Shell is in the process of installing EV charging hubs in its gas stations and has already started deployment. So far, 10 gas stations are set to receive the EV charging points. Shell is also implementing a hydrogen fueling program in the region, with three pumps scheduled for construction this year.

Investing in Sustainable Technology

Despite overall bearish sentiment in the oil and gas market, BP is adapting very well to the shift in global energy preferences. According to BP chief executive Bob Dudley, the company closed 2017 with $6.2 billion in profits. Surprisingly, the business plans to invest $500 million, from its capital expenditure program, in sustainable energy. In the automotive sector, such channels include electric cars, charging stations and battery technology.

"It's not a race to renewables, it's a race to lower greenhouse gas emissions. As fast as renewables and clean energy can grow, faster than any fuel in history, the world is going to require oil and gas for some decades to come," said BP, in a statement.

BP currently has investments in solar technology, which could also be integrated with its growing network of EV charging stations. The company will acquire 43 percent of solar developer Lightsource, in a deal worth $200 million (to be executed over a three-year period).

Michael Cheng
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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