Oil: BP to acquire largest electric vehicle company

BP plans to acquire the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging company, the latest in a string of acquisitions by major oil companies in the growing market for greener transport.

The company operates over 6,500 EV charging points across the UK, and sells and maintains EV charging units across a wide range of locations, including home charging.

The oil and gas giant expects there to be a boom in EV over the next few decades, with the number of EVs on Britain’s roads expected to rise to 12m by 2040.

It didn’t disclose terms of the deal, but BP has previously said it plans to spend about $500 million a year on clean energy. Customers will see the new chargers in its forecourts over the next 12 months.

But it said for EVs to be commonly adopted by customers, there had to be better access to fast and ultra-fast charging. The acquisition will allow BP to deploy more charging points at its 1,200 service stations across the country, including rapid charge points capable of delivering a 100 mile range in 10 minutes.

This is not the first green investment BP have made recently. Last month, it invested $20m in a firm which makes ultra fast electric vehicle batteries which can charge an EV in the same time as it takes to refuel a petrol car.

BP said the development of convenient and innovative EV charging technologies and networks was a key part its strategy to advance the energy transition.

Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP Downstream, said: “Bringing together the UK’s leading fuel retailer and its largest charging company, BP Chargemaster will deliver a truly differentiated offer for the country’s growing number of electric vehicle owners.

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.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Chargemaster employees will continue to be employed by BP Chargemaster or its subsidiaries. BP Chargemaster will operate as a wholly-owned BP entity. Chargemaster was created in 2008 and runs POLAR, the UK’s biggest network of charging points. POLAR currently has over 40,000 customers, of which many have a monthly subscription for the service while some opt for a pay-as-you-go plan.