The announcement that oil giant BP is buying Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric charging network, is good news and a significant development for the EV industry.
That’s the view of InstaVolt chairman Adrian Pike who said the investment, reportedly worth around £130m, would accelerate the growth of the country’s charging infrastructure and underline the industry’s credibility with the City.
Reuters reported that, like its rivals Shell and France’s Total, BP was planning to use its global network of filling stations to carve out a position in the EV market, with demand for petrol forecast to peak as early as the end of the next decade. BP forecasts that the global EV fleet will soar to more than 300 million by 2040, from just 1 million in 2016, and said it plans to deploy chargers across its 1,200 petrol stations in Britain over the next 12 months.
Adrian Pike said: “This move by BP is further evidence that the big forecourt operators are waking up to the electric vehicle revolution. At InstaVolt, we’re seeing increasing numbers of forecourt operators coming to us asking to install rapid chargers on their sites. The fact that we can help them adapt to this rapidly developing industry, without any capital outlay and allowing them to earn a rental income at the same time, explains our growing order book.
“We don’t just make it easy for the forecourt operators to install rapid chargers on their sites, we also make it easy for drivers to charge on the go. Our charging stations are available to use on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no subscription or membership required. Drivers simply tap their contactless credit or debit card, charge up and go.
“Our unrivalled maintenance and support offering, available 24 hours a day, means that our customers can turn up at an InstaVolt charger confident that they can charge up without worry that the charger will be out of service. Once drivers can put their trust in the infrastructure, electric vehicle adoption will really begin to ramp up, and existing forecourts have a role to play in this.
“We take our environment responsibilities seriously, too. We’re proud of the fact that all of the electricity provided by our chargers comes from 100 per cent renewable sources.”
Summing up Adrian Pike said: “We welcome BP’s move as a signal that the big oil companies understand the potential of the electric vehicle revolution. As InstaVolt approaches its second anniversary, we’re forging ahead building the UK’s most reliable rapid charging network and look forward to the next months and years as the electric vehicle revolution continues at pace.”