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BP to add electric vehicle charge points at its service stations

Fill up with electricity, not petrol or diesel.

Fuel company BP is set to offer charge points for electric cars in the forecourts of its service stations in the United Kingdom, and the plan may yet roll out to other major markets in the future.

BP, formerly British Petroleum, has invested $5 million into a Silicon Valley company known as FreeWire, which develops mobile fast-charge systems for EVs.

The synergies are clear - why shouldn’t owners of electric cars have the same convenience as those still using combustion-engine vehicles? Service stations, as we all know, are more than just outlets to fill up your car - they serve as modern-day convenience stores, too.

The plan from BP to implement a rollout of FreeWire mobile charge points is set to be rolled out in the UK and other parts of Europe in the coming year. BP says the move to use mobile charging points, rather than investing more heavily in fixed points that mightn’t suit everyone’s needs, should help the company be fluid in meeting user requirements.

“Using FreeWire’s mobile system we can respond very quickly and provide charging facilities at forecourts where we see the greatest demand without needing to make significant investments in today’s fixed technologies and infrastructure,” said BP Downstream chief executive, Tufan Erginbilgic. 

“The opportunity also to explore options for providing charging services away from our existing retail sites makes FreeWire an ideal partner for BP,” he said.

So, could we see electric charge points at Australian BP servos in the coming years? It’s possible, but a BP spokesperson for the local area suggested the focus is on Europe in the first instance. 

“In relation to BP’s investment in mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire, there is nothing planned beyond Europe at this stage, but the business will continue to monitor demand and scale up as appropriate,” the spokesperson said. 

“From a local perspective, we are watching this initiative with lots of interest. We are continually reviewing and accessing potential solutions for our customers including EV charging and alternative low carbon fuel.”

Should other fuel companies be following in BP's footsteps on the electric charging front? Tell us what you think in the comments below.