Oil giant BP will begin installing EV charging points at its forecourts within the next two months, the company has said.
After investing £3.5 million in American firm Freewire Technologies, BP says it’s now in a position to whack portable ‘rapid chargers’ (50kW and up) at some of the busiest and most urban of its stations. The charging units should be able to juice something like a Nissan Leaf to 80 per cent charge in less than half an hour.
BP’s main rival Shell has already announced a similar scheme across an initial 10 sites with a variety of charging cable types. There’s no confirmation from BP as to how many sites it plans to equip with charging points, but the roll-out starts across February and March.
‘Key’ locations in the EU will be targeted later in the year. Reading between the lines, it seems like BP is hesitant to invest too much before the industry achieves true standardisation, particularly of charging cable types and across AC and DC infrastructure. Officially this is just a trial, so we don’t expect to see BP charging points in too many places for now.
Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of BP Downstream, said:
“EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”
Chargemaster, a major supplier of charging ports, is predicting that the 50,000 plug-in car registrations the UK saw in 2017 will rise to 70,000 or more this year.
Meanwhile, the National Grid is in talks with BP, Shell, Ford, BMW and Tesla, plus others, about installing ‘super-rapid chargers’ at motorway service stations. Some 50 sites have been mapped to provide the best reach across the population, the fastest charge times and the best chances for effective EV range-boosting.