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An electrifying story to tell the grandchildren: Akira’s story

Published:
12 April 2022

As CEO of bp pulse, bp's EV charging business in the UK, Akira and his team are working at the heart of the energy transition

Akira Kirton

A passion for tackling climate change has always been the North Star of Akira’s career. He was first attracted to bp because he was impressed by the company’s willingness to step into the climate debate. “I saw bp as a first mover in this space. Their action aligned with my passion for the environment and my wish to make a difference,” he explains.


While reading chemical engineering at university, Akira completed a summer internship with bp in Sunbury. He then joined the business full time on bp’s engineering graduate programme. In the 20 years that have followed, Akira has worked all across the business, in roles in chemicals, refining, trading, business development, and bp’s corporate venturing team.


He even had time to fit in a secondment to the UK Energy Technologies Institute – a public-private partnership between the UK government and industry members, one of which was bp. While there, he worked within the civil service, mapping out the UK’s energy strategy for 2050 and identifying the best investments. “A decade on, it’s amazing to see offshore wind, hydrogen, electric mobility, and the other areas that we looked at then moving forwards and scaling up,” Akira reflects.


Making EV charging mainstream


In January 2021, Akira took on a role leading new business execution for bp’s Future Mobility team. He co-led the development of bp’s next generation strategy for mobility and in May 2021 became CEO of bp pulse, bp’s EV charging business in the UK.


“Now I’m truly working at the heart of the energy transition,” he says.

 

As a business, bp pulse is raw and entrepreneurial which reminds me of my days working in venture capital. We’re looking to leverage the best of these capabilities alongside the systemic, scale-up capabilities of wider bp.”

As CEO, Akira and his team are involved in everything from manufacturing, customer care, digital strategy, infrastructure installation and roll-out, through to operations. His work is in service of bp pulse customers, from individuals at home to large scale corporate fleets and networks. In Akira’s own words: “It’s these different elements interacting that make work truly exciting.”


Reflecting on what it feels like to work in such a transformative space, Akira notes that his team is hugely motivated by the thought of supporting bp through the energy transition, tackling climate change and managing energy security. “I believe that the fuel pump of 2040 will be the phone box of 2010 and I look forward to being able to explain to my grandchildren how people used to fill-up their cars before EV charging ang hydrogen became mainstream,” he says.


The right ingredients for change


Right now, bp pulse is focused on meeting the needs of its customers, as well as evolving what the charging experience looks like for EV drivers.

 

“We’re aiming for the brilliant basics; safe, reliable and fast charging,” Akira explains,

 

And we’re developing convenience and loyalty offers at our retail forecourts and dedicated EV charging hubs to provide an even better customer experience that leverages the best of bp.”

Over the past 18 months, Akira has seen a real shift in the way that bp approaches things, with the customer at the heart of the way the business thinks. “As we evolve, engaging with customers on the ground is becoming more and more important. We’re on a journey to becoming significantly more customer-focused, and we’re continuing to embrace digital,” he says.


When thinking about why there’s never been a better time to join bp, Akira says:

 

The recipe and ingredients for change have never been better than now. Our customers, and wider society, are demanding change and so there is an opportunity for all of us to be heroes in the energy transition.”

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