By August 1, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

BP in talks with EV makers to offer battery charging at company’s gas stations

battery charging

BP and Shell are looking to install battery charging at some of their existing service stations. Electrek.co photo.

Shell has scheme to install battery charging stations at some stations in Britain, Netherlands

Oil giant BP is looking to partner with electric vehicle makers to offer battery charging docks at its worldwide network of gasoline and diesel stations.

With rapid growth in the use of EVs expected in the coming decades, some oil companies are seeing a threat to their business models as the demand for some fuels could peak as early as the late 2020s.

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BP is looking to not get left in the dust as consumers make the shift to electric vehicles.

“We have discussions going on with a lot of the EV manufacturers to have a tie-up with our retail network for charging,” BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley told Reuters.

Citing chargers near gas stations is an interesting strategy, Lux Research EV analyst Chris Robinson said in response to emailed questions, in principle allowing oil companies to diversity their customer base to include a technology which is a competitive threat to oil demand.

“A key question to answer is what type of charging will be offered. Conventional level 2 charging can offer charge times of around 2 hours, depending on the vehicle, which is still too long for a typically gas station customer – those types of chargers are best suited to businesses like retail where customers are likely to stay for a significant amount of time,” said Robinson.

Fast-chargers offer faster charging, but are orders of magnitude more expensive, and best suited to being located on major highway travel routes.

“Not every station can likely support a charging model, but some located along major thoroughfares may be successful,” Robinson added.

Already, Royal Dutch Shell has launched a pilot scheme to install battery charging stations at a handful of service stations in Britain and the Netherlands.

Some analysts predict the number of electric vehicles on the roadways to increase significantly in the coming decades, especially in cities.  BP anticipates there will be 100 million EV by 2035, a significant jump from the 1.5 million in 2015.

“I consider public charging infrastructure a critical factor influencing EV adoption,” said Robinson.

“Range anxiety is a major concern among consumers, and while larger batteries giving vehicles longer range is also important it does not provide a complete solution.”

So far, despite acknowledging that oil companies need to be part of the shift away from fossil fuels, companies like BP and Shell have not yet come up with a plan for significantly increasing their interests in renewable energy products.

“We’ll be ready for this world but we’re not going to dive in too deeply,” said Dudley.

BP had previously tried unsuccessfully to move into renewable energy.  According to Dudley, the company will make investments in new technologies, but they will be small percentage stakes.

Dudley also said BP is looking at studying autonomous vehicles as well as the potential for combining natural gas with solar power generation.

BP is not alone in investing in new energy technologies.  On Tuesday, Shell announced it will invest in Sunseap Group, a Singapore-based solar firm.

 

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