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Top of the range: how the right infrastructure can boost driver confidence to go electric

Release date:
12 June 2023
EV charging is one of bp’s core businesses in the journey to becoming an integrated energy company. The head of bp pulse, Richard Bartlett, explains why we’re focusing on scale, speed and real estate to meet the needs of current and future customers
🕒 5 min read | 📖 Feature| 💡 Why it matters

How does scaling up EV charging help the world get to net zero and why does it play such a big role in bp’s transformation plans?

Around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transport sector globally1. Electric vehicles don’t produce any tailpipe emissions. That gives you some idea of the opportunity here. We’re providing the infrastructure needed for charging across multiple vehicle classes – passenger cars, fleets, and trucks. The amount of energy we’ll ‘charge’ into vehicles is expected to increase more than a hundred times from 2021 to 2030. This is a big ambition.

bp is transforming into an integrated energy company. Key to this transformation are five transition growth engines: bioenergy, convenience, hydrogen, renewables & power, and EV charging.  


1Source: United Nations Sustainable Transport Conference


“The amount of energy we’ll ‘charge’ into vehicles is expected to increase more than 100 times from 2021 to 2030. This is a big ambition.”


What are your priorities for EV charging? 

We’re building a network of high-speed chargers because we believe customers want and need fast charging as they make the switch to electric vehicles. This requires high-power grid connections, planning permissions and land in the right places. It’s a complex process and we’re working to break down the barriers to progress to get the chargers in the ground as quickly as possible.

Just as importantly, we’re building and rolling out fleet depot charging. Together with our physical infrastructure, we have digital energy management solutions that can optimize the charging cycle of fleet vehicles and help fleets to manage the financial commitment of the EV switch, including with innovative approaches to project funding.  

Above all, safety is our priority – from the installation of the charge points, to how they operate. Nothing is more important than that.

What makes your approach different? What else is needed for success?

It’s very simple: it’s all about collaboration. We’re working with organizations like Uber, Hertz, Iberdrola, Marks & Spencer and REWE. This is crucial so we can secure the real estate we need, accelerate the infrastructure roll-out and bring drivers to our sites to charge.

Governments and regulators have a crucial role, too. The private sector is stepping up and committing significant investments. Equally, charge point operators like bp pulse need the right environment in our markets so that we can scale high-quality infrastructure that works for consumers and fleets.

What is bp doing to help customers make the switch to EV? 

We’re focusing on two quite distinct market segments: charging ‘on the go’ and fleets. 

For fleets, we’re acting as a decarbonization partner, optimizing the transition to EVs through hardware to digital products and services. Fleet operators need the right charge in the right place, at optimum cost.

What our customers ‘on the go’ care about is speed and convenience. Ninety percent of the charge points we’re putting in today are rapid or ultra-fast. That’s the difference between adding hundreds of miles of range in minutes and having to leave your car overnight on a slow charger.

In addition, we’re investing in E-Truck charging – we opened Europe’s first E-Truck charging corridor in Germany. So, we’re working on the decarbonization of the movement of goods, as well as the decarbonization of the movement of people. 

💡 Why it matters

We believe that for road transport to decarbonize at the pace and scale that is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, it is necessary for the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure and usage of electric vehicles to be scaled up in parallel with – or even ahead of – the needed decarbonization of electricity grids.


By bringing our capabilities and reach in convenience together with EV charging, we can provide customer-focused, lower carbon transport solutions over time. We see significant value through our focus on fleets and fast* charging to on-the-go customers, who are increasingly demanding decarbonization solutions.

*Fast charging comprises a rapid charding ≥150kW.

Richard on the way to accelerate progress

I talk a lot about the three Ps. Place. Permissions. Power

Where is the demand for EV charging coming from? 

Governments around the world are introducing zero-emissions vehicle mandates, for example, in the UK and Europe, which have made commitments to end the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and 2035, respectively. Commitments like those increase demand for EVs. 

Fleet operators know those dates aren’t all that far off, which is why they are securing infrastructure, and digital products and services today. Additionally, any business thinking about its emissions and ESG targets is rightly focused on decarbonization at the tailpipe as a top priority.


Of course, the biggest drivers of demand are the vehicle manufacturers themselves.

The intense focus on electric vehicles is driven by the fact that this is the only form of mobility that is available with zero tailpipe emissions, at scale, today. We mustn’t stop at tailpipe emissions, though – the grid needs to be decarbonized, too.

Analysts will debate the speed of transition in different parts of the world – but there is absolutely no doubt that EVs aren’t just the future, they’re the today. There’s no going back.


What have you learned over the past few years?

One big takeaway for me is that EV charging is ultimately a scale game. What’s needed are global players like bp, rolling out high-power charging sites with dozens of chargers per site, committing significant amounts of investment to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.  

What makes bp particularly well placed to succeed in this space?

These aren’t just words and ambitions. We’re out there now. Fleets are already turning to bp pulse as their business partner of choice to support their switch to EV, and we’re providing millions of charging sessions for customers on the go. We are bringing our skills and knowledge, our experience, our scale and our ambition together to drive the EV transition.

I’ve been in the energy industry for almost 30 years. I’ve never worked on anything as exciting as this. The scale of the opportunity, the scale of the challenge, the scale of the impact we’ll have on bp, our industry and, most importantly, on the customers and communities we serve is truly extraordinary.

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