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BP partners with Volkswagen for rapid EV charging

Energy giant BP and automotive manufacturer Volkswagen have entered into a strategic partnership to roll out fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe. By 2024, the two firms expect to have installed some 8,000 units in the UK, Germany and other European countries.

BP, which also makes industrial products like food-safe lubricants and metalworking fluids under the Castrol brand, already runs its own BP Pulse network that includes its 2018 acquisition of Chargemaster. The company announced in March that it would invest £1 billion over the coming decade in EV charging in the UK.

The Chief Executive Officer of BP, Bernard Looney, said about the new partnership:

“When you bring together one of the world’s leading car makers and one of the world’s leading energy companies—the opportunity is huge. This is a significant step-forward on our journey to accelerate the electrification of transport in Europe.”

BP will roll out Volkswagen’s Flexpole 150kW chargers at its UK retail sites and its Aral-brand sites in Germany. The Flexpole system has the advantage that it includes built-in battery storage, which in turn enables it to be connected to low-voltage grids. Chargers that require a higher powered grid often need a dedicated substation to be installed, meaning greater installation time and cost. This is one of the factors currently hindering the rollout of rapid chargers.

The locations of the new chargers will be integrated into the in-car apps of Volkswagen cars, including its Skoda and Seat brands, as well as its Elli charging application.

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