With the UK government pledging to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, the major fuel giants will need to evolve or face losing a sizeable share of their income to the rising number of alternative energy companies.
We’ve already seen Shell begin installing charging points inside petrol stations in order to satisfy the rising number of EV owners, but it’ll soon be joined by rival BP after it announced that it has invested in electric vehicle charging company FreeWire to bring mobile charging units to a select number of forecorts.
BP has sunk $5 million (£3.53 million) into the EV charging startup. Unlike the fixed terminals you’d find in a traditional charging locations, Freewire’s Mobi units are basically repurposed EV car batteries on wheels. They can be plugged into normal wall outlets, allowing BP to place them where demand is high and not have to overhaul the layout of its forecorts.
“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 Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO of BP Downstream. “The opportunity also to explore options for providing charging services away from our existing retail sites makes FreeWire an ideal partner for BP.”
BP says Freewire units will be deployed in the UK and across Europe throughout 2018. The company is already well established in the US: in 2015 it was chosen to provide Mobi units at LinkedIn’s Mountain View campus. The Microsoft-owned company continues to use its Concierge Charging service today.