BP Adds Fast Chargers in UK
While the number of battery electric vehicles is still small in the UK, BP is building out infrastructure
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK’s auto industry organization, through July 2019 there were 14,246 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered in the UK, which represents a 70.6% increase compared to 2018’s number encompassing the same period. While the increase is a nice rise, put into context the overall number is rather small: while diesel vehicle sales were off 19.7% during the first seven months of 2019 compared to 2018, the total number of registrations were still 385,528.
Be that as it may, BP p.l.c., the company once known as “British Petroleum,” has announced that it put its first 150-kW BEV chargers into operation at a British retail site. This facility is in Cranford, which is near to Heathrow Airport.
This is to be the first of what the company says will be a network of “ultra-fast chargers” that will span the UK. All told, they’re looking at installing 400 chargers by the end of 2021.
Explained Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of BP’s Downstream business, “Convenient and reliable ultra-fast charging will be critical in driving the wider adoption of electric vehicles in the UK. The combination of BP Chargemaster’s EV charging expertise, experience and customer base with BP’s retail sites across the UK is now allowing us to develop the UK’s first nationwide network of ultra-fast chargers.”
If we go back to the SMMT numbers, there were 943,877 petrol vehicles registered in the UK through the first seven months, an increase of a modest 3.4%, but an increase nonetheless. And looked at from another perspective, that represents 66.2% of the total passenger vehicle market share. BEV’s hold a 1% share.
So it isn’t entirely surprising that Erginbilgic also noted, “As the world of mobility evolves, BP is determined to be the fuel provider of choice whether drivers need electric charging or liquid fuels.” They’re not giving up on gasoline anytime soon.
According to David Newton, chief operating officer of BP Chargemaster, they anticipate that BEV drivers will have “an expected dwell time of 10 to 12 minutes, not dissimilar from the average of around seven minutes spent by drivers of petrol and diesel cars on a forecourt today.” (Of course, if someone is spending seven minutes now and spends 10 minutes, although the number of minutes is small, it is a 40% increase in time spent.)
That is with the fast “ultra-fast” chargers. The company also has a network of over 7,000 50-kW “rapid” chargers in the UK.
It is worth noting that BP understands it is worthwhile to provide BEV drivers with the means to spend their time and money during a recharge as there are typically an M&S Simply Food, Wild Bean Café and an automated car wash on site.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).
The future of e-mobility depends on collaboration. Automotive companies will need to build business models based on strengths and limitations to tap into the EV value chain and fully capitalize on the opportunities within the new EV ecosystem.