Oil giant BP buys UK’s largest EVs charging company

Oil and gas conglomerate BP plc is to buy Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicles (EVs) charging company, and plans to deploy the network across its forecourts in the country over the next 12 months.

The charging company, to be rebranded BP Chargemaster, has over 6,500 charging points across the UK through its Polar network. The company also designs, builds, sells and maintains EV charging units for a wide range of locations, including for home charging.

The £130 million ($170 million) deal comes at a time when oil demand is being threatened by the development of EVs, which replaces fossil fuels with electricity. BP has said it is working to grow new businesses to meet growing customer demand and advance the energy transition. The company is already working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and create new low carbon businesses.

“At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles,” Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive officer of BP’s downstream unit, said.

“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,” he added.

The number of EVs on the road is anticipated to increase rapidly in the coming decades. By 2040, BP estimates that there will be 12 million EVs on UK roads, up from around 135,000 EVs in 2017.

BP’s UK retail network has over 1,200 service stations across the country. A key priority for BP Chargemaster will be the rollout of ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150kW rapid chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes.

In a recent interview with Metal Bulletin, John Gartner, senior research director at Navigant Research, said that total copper demand from EVs charging installations will be 560,000 tonnes through to 2027.

The drive towards electro-mobility has also recently boosted demand for cobalt and lithium, which are key raw materials for the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs.

Metal Bulletin assessed low-grade cobalt and high-grade cobalt prices at $40.35-41.25 per lb, in-warehouse on Friday June 22, down 0.6% and 0.9% respectively over the course of the week but up over 265% from two years ago.

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