In a move further cementing the EV future, oil and gas giant British Petroleum has invested $5 million in American EV fast charging firm FreeWire Technologies through their subsidiary BP Ventures. As reported by CNBC, BP is planning on incorporating fast charging units into its retail sights in the U.K. and Europe later this year. This is good news for EV infrastructure—if major gas companies pivot, or diversify, their offerings to include EV fast charging at gas stations, range anxiety will truly be a thing of the past.
If people were to start seeing charging stations right next to their normal gas pumps, electric vehicle charging would become demystified to the average consumer. Especially after they see the price difference between charging a battery and filling up a tank. Tufan Erginbilgic, BP Downstream’s chief executive, said that “mobility is changing and BP is committed to remaining the fuel retailer of choice into the future.” It seems that they recognize our ideas of “fuel” are changing, and for companies like BP to maintain their retail presence, they’ll have to offer charging for EVs. Back in 2010, BP launched a pilot program to include charging stations at 45 locations in the United States, but this was just a drop in the bucket. BP operates 11,000 U.S. gas stations.
We’ve been through some significant planning stages for building out Michigan’s EV infrastructure in the past year, and it appears that utilities and automakers are starting to get on the same page. Hopefully, BP is on to a trend, and gas and oil companies will embrace the electric future independently. Shell is on a similar path, offering charging at stations in the U.K. and Netherlands. With big EV lineups on the horizon from GM and Ford, BP and Shell would do well to start opening charging stations in the States in the next few years.