Even gas companies aren't so silly as to ignore the growing influence and presence of electric vehicles.
BP announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Chargemaster. Chargemaster is the UK's largest public EV charging network, comprising some 6,500 charging points. But it's not just public installations -- the company also builds and sells chargers for home use.
"At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles," said Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO of BP Downstream, in a statement. "Combining BP's and Chargemaster's complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home."
Post-merge, Chargemaster will change its name to BP Chargemaster. The company intends to add EV fast chargers to its 1,200 service stations in the UK starting within the next year. The chargers will provide 150 kW of power, which is enough to add about 100 miles of range in just a few minutes -- it's about the power that Tesla's Superchargers currently wield. That's a bit less than Ionity's planned 300-kW chargers, but the current slate of EVs can't yet support charging that powerful.
BP isn't dumb. It estimates that there will be 12 million EVs on the road in the UK by 2040. That means a lot less gas being purchased, so it's wise for a gas giant like BP to diversify early and position itself as a company that's willing to help the public make the transition from gas to electricity. Not having to change your daily routine by getting a charge at the same place you used to get gas should be plenty convenient -- and you can still stock up on junk food and windshield wiper fluid at the same time.
BP might not be dumb, but it's not the first gas company to make a move like this. Last October, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it, a Dutch company that operates one of Europe's largest EV charging networks.