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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.

Matt Campbell
Managing Editor - Head of Video
Matt Campbell has been at the forefront of automotive media for more than a decade, working not only on car reviews and news, but also helping manage automotive outputs across print, online, video and audio. After completing his media degree at Macquarie University, Matt was an intern at a major news organisation as part of the motoring team, where he honed his skills in the online automotive reviews and news space. He did such a good job there they put him on full time, and since then he has worked across different automotive media outlets, before starting with CarsGuide in October 2017. At CarsGuide Matt has helped shape the video output of the business, while also playing a key role in management behind the scenes, and helping in-market new car buyers make the right choice by continually evolving CarsGuide's comparison reviews. Driving more than 100 cars a year seemed like a dream to Matt when he first started out, but now it's all just part of the job - a job he loves and plans to stay in for a long time to come. Matt is also an expert in used car values, as he's always on the hunt for a bargain - be it a project beater or a prime example of the breed. He currently owns a 2001 Audi TT quattro and a 2007 Suzuki Jimny JLX.
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