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Energy giant BP has acquired Chargemaster, UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company, which analysts say can have implications for the fledgling Indian EV market that’s just beginning to develop the charging infrastructure.
BP, in collaboration with Reliance Industries (RIL), has been working on advancing its fuel retailing ambition in India. Last year, the two companies unveiled their intention to collaborate on unconventional and disruptive mobility solutions.
“Chargemaster would give BP the capability every state oil firm in India is trying to acquire organically,” said Gaurav Moda, India energy head at professional services firm Accenture. This EV charging capability can be handy if BP were to roll out its filling stations or charging stations in collaboration with Reliance Industries in India.
The impact on the Indian market, however, initially could be limited since RIL has a small network of 1,400 filling stations in a market of more than 60,000 pumps, and most of these are located on highways. State firms control more than 90% of Indian fuel retailing.
India has begun on a path to transition to EVs with government planning to purchase 10,000 electric cars. Meanwhile, thousands of e-rickshaws are already on the road. A large and ultra-fast charging infrastructure is needed for a faster expansion of the EV economy.
BP on Thursday announced acquisition of Chargemaster that operates 6,500 EV charging points across the UK and also designs, builds, sells and maintains EV charging units for a wide range of locations, including for home charging.
“At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles,” BP downstream chief executive Tufan Erginbilgic said. “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,” he said in a statement.
BP customers in the UK can expect to access BP Chargemaster chargers on its filling stations over the next 12 months, as per the statement. A key priority for BP Chargemaster will be the rollout of ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150 kW rapid chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes.
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