BP gets praise for smart bet on EV

June 29 (UPI) — BP’s acquisition of Britain’s largest electric vehicle charging company gives the supermajor an edge in a changing retail segment, an analytics company said.

The British energy company announced Thursday it reached an agreement to purchase EV charging company Chargemaster and rebrand it as its own. Chargemaster operates more than 6,500 charging points across the United Kingdom and the buyout fits with BP’s expectations of growth in electric vehicle sales.

The supermajor estimates there were around 135,000 electric vehicles on British roads last year and that number could jump to 12 million by 2040. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Harminder Singh, the director for power at analytics company GlobalData, said Friday it was a smart move for BP.

“With the rapid shift we are witnessing in consumer transport fuel choices, oil and gas retailers have the inherent advantage of an established network of filling stations, which they can easily leverage to get into a dominant position in the EV charging market to remain competitive,” he said in a statement emailed to UPI.

BP in January invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a U.S. company that makes charging stations for electric vehicles. BP’s plan is to bring the charging units to retail service stations in the United Kingdom and Europe throughout the year.

Two million electric vehicles were on the road globally last year, though nearly all of those were in China, the European Union and the United States.

Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive for BP’s fuels and refining segment, said the newly-minted BP Chargemaster will work to roll out charging stations that can deliver 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.

“BP believes that to accelerate the adoption of EVs, customers will require convenient access to fast and ultra-fast charging,” he said in a statement.

From Michigan, one of the leading U.S. centers for the automotive industry, a technical conference held by the state Public Service Commission found concerns in 2018 required forward-thinking mitigation efforts to address range anxiety, accessibility and public charger visibility.

BP’s retail segment competitors, Dutch company Shell and French supermajor Total, have made their own progress in providing charging infrastructure at their consumer petrol stations.

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