BP is to pay £130m to buy Chargemaster, the company behind the UK’s largest network of charging points for electric-powered vehicles.
The oil major said it would aim to roll-out ultra-fast charging points at its network of 1,200 petrol stations across the UK over the next year before turning its attentions to bigger growth opportunities – particularly China.
Chargemaster currently operates 6,500 charging points nationwide.
BP’s investment – which follows similar moves by rivals including Shell – is the culmination of growing pressure globally for manufacturers to ditch petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
The issue was brought to a head after Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal which saddled the industry with additional scrutiny over emissions.
VW, along with most other major brands, have since announced a research and development focus on electric technology despite worries that the cars have limited distance capability – typically no more than 200 miles – before batteries need to be recharged.
BP said the charging points it was to install were capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes and its investment was based on forecasts that electric vehicle use was to accelerate markedly over the next 22 years.
Its research suggested there would be 12 million on the UK’s roads alone by 2040 – the date when the government has signalled it intends to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel models to help the environment.
Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of BP’s downstream business, 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.
“At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles.
“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.”
David Martell, Chargemaster’s chief executive, added: “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.”