As the biggest investor in UK charging infrastructure, we’re delivering a step change in London’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and making ultra-fast charging in London, at scale, a reality.
The event followed the launch of Sadiq’s EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan and brought together the movers and shakers — government decision makers, technology companies, car manufacturers, power suppliers and others — to overcome the challenges and generate momentum behind the investment, decisions and partnerships needed. It was a great conversation.
So, what are the challenges?
Today, there are almost five million electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads globally. If current trends continue, we believe that number could rise to 100m by 2030 and to 350 million by 2040.
The key word in this last sentence, however, is “could”. For EVs to really become a vehicle of choice for domestic and business drivers, a few things must happen first. Battery technology needs to improve so that costs fall, while the distances EVs can travel without stopping to charge needs to rise. We’ll certainly need more charging points, and they’ll need to be more conveniently located. Perhaps most importantly, charging times will have to be cut dramatically.
That’s why we believe ultra-fast charging (UFC) is so critical to the greater adoption of EVs. With a 150kw charger, we’ll be able to bring the charging time for a journey of 100 miles down from several hours to just 10 minutes. With a 350kw charger, it could be as low as five minutes.
Why the need for speed? Well, a comprehensive and convenient UFC network will transform the EV experience for domestic drivers who can’t charge a vehicle at home, who travel long distances, or who simply don’t have time. For businesses, it will mean having greater uptime for key vehicles and therefore reduced operating costs. It will support a number of low-carbon business models such as electrified ride-hailing fleets and ‘last mile’ delivery, where the time a vehicle is out on the road is inextricably linked to profitability.
But that’s not all. UFC will undoubtedly help cities improve air quality too, and sustainably manage growth in vehicle numbers. It will help them adapt to new business and transportation models such as ride sharing. And by supporting greater EV adoption within existing transportation systems, such as bus and taxi fleets, it will make sure public transport and logistics services meet stricter emissions regulations.
Our goal at BP is to use our energy expertise to develop the fastest, most convenient network of home, destination and forecourt charging, and to create innovative, consumer-focused and business-oriented UFC solutions. Our Aral retail brand in Germany has already launched its first two UFC charging points at a service station in Bochum, with four further pilot sites to follow. BP Chargemaster, meanwhile, is introducing 150kW charge points as part of a commitment to 400UFC chargers by 2021 across the UK.
We’ve also invested £20 million in StoreDot, a leading UFC battery development company focused on consumer electronics and EVs. StoreDot’s technology has charging rates that are 20 times faster than standard lithium-ion batteries — less than five minutes! Our first public demonstration of this at EcoMotion is another proof point that we are well on the road to overcoming one of the biggest challenges to greater electric vehicle adoption – charging at speed.
It can’t be achieved alone, that’s why we’re also working with other technology companies, car manufacturers, power suppliers and others to overcome the challenges associated with UFC. In May 2019, we teamed up with CharIN to host a “Powering the charge – the transition to electrification” conference in London, bringing together government decision makers and other movers and shakers from across the value chain to generate momentum behind the investment, decisions and partnerships needed.
Nothing will happen overnight, of course. And BP doesn’t have all the answers. But we’re committed to playing a key role in the mobility revolution, and specifically to making UFC a reality. So, we’d love to hear from anyone who has an idea, project or potential collaboration that can help support this goal.
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