BP Is Acquiring Chargemaster – Big Oil Ready To Go Electric

JUN 28 2018 BY MARK KANE 38

Chargemaster, a British charging company that designs, builds, sells and maintains charging stations (including a network of over 6,500 points in UK) is being acquired by BP.

Yes…British Petroleum.

Chargemaster Ultracharger

The company will be rebranded to BP Chargemaster and focus on the installations of ultra-fast chargers (power level from around 150 kW).

BP expects that the number of electric cars in the UK will increase from around 135,000 in 2017 to 12 million by 2040 and needs to take action to not be left behind with its network of 1,200 refueling stations (UK). DC fast chargers will initially supplement the gas pumps (within the next 12 months) and someday maybe even replace them.

The shortest way to become a significant player in the charging business is always acquisition of existing company and Chargemaster (founded in 2008) with over 40,000 customers of the POLAR network, seems to be the right choice for BP.

Earlier BP invested also in FreeWire, StoreDot and become the member of CharIN – Combined Charging System Association.

“BP today announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company. Chargemaster operates the UK’s largest public network of EV charging points, with over 6,500 across the country. It also designs, builds, sells and maintains EV charging units for a wide range of locations, including for home charging.”

“The development of convenient and innovative EV charging technologies and networks is a key part of BP’s strategy to advance the energy transition. BP is committed to developing new offers to meet changing customer demand and growing new businesses and supporting opportunities for customers to reduce their emissions.

BP believes that to accelerate the adoption of EVs, customers will require convenient access to fast and ultra-fast charging. BP’s UK retail network is well positioned to provide this access with over 1,200 service stations across the country. A key priority for BP Chargemaster will be the rollout of ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150kW rapid chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes. BP customers in the UK can expect to access BP Chargemaster chargers on forecourts over the next 12 months.”

Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP downstream, said:

“Bringing together the UK’s leading fuel retailer and its largest charging company, BP Chargemaster will deliver a truly differentiated offer for the country’s growing number of electric vehicle owners.

“At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles. Combining BP’s and Chargemaster’s complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home.”

David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster said:

“The acquisition of Chargemaster by BP marks a true milestone in the move towards low carbon motoring in the UK. I am truly excited to lead the Chargemaster team into a new era backed by the strength and scale of BP, which will help us maintain our market-leading position and grow the national POLAR charging network to support the large range of exciting new electric vehicles that are coming to market in the next couple of years.”

Categories: Charging

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

38 Comments on "BP Is Acquiring Chargemaster – Big Oil Ready To Go Electric"

newest oldest most voted

It looks like “Beyond Petroleum” is now buying pumps!

Shell is doing the same thing…

Shell has actually quite impressive approach on electric.

Some of the best LNG and NG fields and facilities in the world, power distribution network and a sales network through New motion and existing stations.

This is great news for those with EV’s in the UK… As I predicted, large energy companies are going to make a play into EV’s.

I hope so too CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

I hope to be proven wrong but BP could be buying chargemaster to kill it slowly. Only time will tell. CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

Not a chance, BP is trying to match Shell and position for the future. Great news for EV’s

Doesn’t matter which bit of the sinking ship they try to hold onto it’s all going in the same direction for the petrol pump…

I don’t think so, but, It’s still a valid thought, like GM buying the street cars through dummy companies, in order to destroy them to make room for their busses.
There is really no stopping the ev revolution, in fact it seems to be accelerating, so they just want a piece of having a part of the charging network.

I doubt that. Even if they kill it others will pop up in its place. It would be a losing strategy on BP’s part.

CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR, WAKE UP FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If every BP garage in the UK had a couple of 150kWh+ chargers there wouldn’t be any need to build out a specific charging network as they are everywhere.
The remaining issue’s with EV’s in the UK at least are price and home charging for people without their own driveway.

I’m somewhat suspicious of this. There is no way electric charging as a business is going to be any more than a rounding error to BP’s bottom line as reselling electricity is just not that profitable. So perhaps the motive is to buy these companies and either run them into the ground or use them as vehicles to sow confusion into the marketplace using advertising campaigns talking about new incompatible standards, scare campaigns against competitors with bogus safety or battery damaging claims just to create FUD so consumers put off buying electric cars till “they sort out the charging issues”. What better than to use this company to spread confusion and hide behind the figleaf of trying to inform consumers so any campaign can not be traced back to BP’s head office.

The real money here is made by selling convenience items, food, and coffee. EV drivers will be spending money in BP’s shops while they wait for their cars to charge. If BP is smart, they will realize this.

I think BP also wants to hold onto their customer base, with a limited investment and a few chargers at their highway locations, they continue to serve their old customers that have moved on to EV’s

I’ve been saying for several years that this would be a major trend: We’ll sell you electrons or even give them away (think hotels and upscale restaurants) and make money as you shop while waiting for your car to charge.

No one should underestimate the attraction for consumers of the convenience of this kind of charging or the lure of a “free fill up”. People are so accustomed to a “fill up” being expensive that getting at most a few dollars of electricity at no cost is a big deal and will alter their spending patterns.

That model doesn’t work at all for convenience stations, where the whole point is to get in and get out fast, even when paying sometimes double for “convenience” foods compared to prices in a grocery or walmart store. Those are places where shop-and-charge would work, along with the hotels, etc you mentioned.

BP stations? not so much.

“BP customers in the UK can expect to access BP Chargemaster chargers on forecourts over the next 12 months.”

What about BP customers in the US? Can we ever expect to see BP Chargemaster?

In the USA, BP does not own the stations, so change may be further off…

Interesting. I did not know there was that distinction between BP in the US and the UK.

Must be difficult having to explain why you want your company to expand in a direction that directly contradicts your main product. Kinda like why I see it impossibly difficult for the Big 3 to sell EV’s next to ICE counterparts- because pointing out all the good about EV’s directly says the alternative (which is their main products) is not good.

Energy is energy to BP, they can combine their locations, this is really the best situation for the EV consumer, although I will guess their electricity will not come cheap, expect 2-3X grid price.

I do not see it that way. Let’s use Loves in the US as an example . They have gasoline, diesel, def, natural gas, adding in EV chargers and also hydrogen. That to me just looks like a progressive company serving it’s current and slowly building up to serve future customers.

Nothing ever stays the same, you have to evolve with your customers.

I wish Love’s would follow suite. I’ve contacted them to tell them as much. I highly recommend that any EV driver here who lives near a Loves does the same!

Two words: Cautiously Optimistic

One word: Cautious

One way to put the squeeze on EVs is, with the help of Big Oil’s massive resources, to gradually take over the whole charging market then to set pricing to a level discouraging to EV ownership.
The “nowhere at home to charge” fraction of the population would be hard pressed to go EV, thus guaranteeing a solid demand for the remaining gasoline as oil supplies decline. A softer landing for the OilCo’s.

Nice. /S

This is what I was thinking. They will re-sell electric for an outrageous dollar amount, just like they do with their oil prices.

That would only last until the next guy figures out that he can make money undercutting BP’s electricity price. That’s the beauty of capitalism… competition keeps prices in check.

I don’t know where you think modern monopoly-based capitalism and market collusion-based capitalism actually works that way.

It is amazingly difficult for new companies to compete against massive conglomerates. If they start small in local markets, the big companies simply lower prices in that small local market and crush them and put them out of business. The big companies can absorb the losses no problem in a small market with higher prices in the broader market. If they can’t crush them, they buy the whole company for pocket change.

Meanwhile the large conglomerates manipulate prices between each other by following each other’s prices, pressing up prices whenever they can for whatever made up reason they can get away with. That’s why gas prices rise quickly when oil prices rise, and fall very, very slowly when oil prices fall.

I think these large companies see a path to profitability in charging, Shell, now BP, and VW in Electrify America are going to build profitable charging networks and charge accordingly for charging so they make money. Its a win-win, EV’s get better access, and the big conglomerates can make money. I have been saying this for a while… Tesla charges 2X grid price for Model 3 buyers on their network, I see these big guys setting their prices just slightly higher then that. There should be some profit in there, especially when BP already owns the locations, and sells other products at those locations.

Oh please stop with the shock about this, it only makes you look ignorant. BP has been a leader in the solar industry at least since they purchased ARCO, another ENERGY company who did pioneer solar.

Other than Lightsource it is pretty quiet with BP and solar

Hmmmm, Oil Companies vs Utilities or independent EVSOs for wining the charge infrastructure market? Could be interesting, but I’d put my money on Oil/Energy Companies.

this is very, very bad.

What they want to do, and will do if they can, is take over ownership of the charging infrastructure enough to fix prices. Then they will index charging prices against gas prices the same way they have controlled ethanol prices at gas stations and magically the price of E85 follows the price of gas up and down even when corn prices move in the opposite direction.

Iowa has a transparent and public ethanol wholesale market, and E85 prices in that market follow MASSIVELY different market patterns based upon supply and demand of ethanol alone, often falling and rising for very different reasons than gas. But the price to gas stations are fully controlled by the oil industry puppet “Blender” facilities who buy the gas and the ethanol wholesale and then blend it into E85 for delivery to gas stations. Magically at the gas stations the E85 prices more closely follows gas prices then ethanol even though gas is only 15-30 of the content. That way people never feel like they can save any money on E85 and continue to buy gas.

If they get control of charging they will do the same.

The “blender” in this case isn’t the charge station owner, but the electric utility. The charge station owner cannot corner the market, there are too many different capital owners involved. Of course, Big Oil could collude with Big Electricity, but I deem that pretty unlikely.

Seems like a very smart strategic move. If they control both sides they can screw you whichever side you choose. Surely there must be some kind of monopoly rule to prevent this.

Big Oil have to fight Big Electricity on this. I put my money on the latter, the four biggest fast charger networks here are owned by electric utilities companies (Vattenfall, EON, Fortum and )

I don’t want to stay at a gas station for the extended time it takes to charge up. There’s very little to do there while I wait. A Walmart, restaurant, mall, even a movie theater would make more sense. Now if the BP station is adjacent to one of these then we’re OK except in the sharpest of winter times where walking from the car to the desired destination might be 100 yards or so. Brrrrrrrrrrr.