From today, Volkswagen and bp are rapidly rolling out EV fast charging across Europe, with the first of 8,000 off-grid ‘Flexpole’ battery-integrated units now live in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Some 4,000 charging points are planned within 24 months in Germany and the UK. For convenience, charger locations will be easy to find via in-car apps of VW, Skoda and Seat/Cupra, as well as Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli.
VW’s Flexpole charging units are a game-changing technology that overcome the problem of providing high-powered grid-connections. Instead, they can be directly connected to a low-voltage grid to continually recharge the battery. This removes the need for a dedicated substation and costly construction work – cutting installation times while still providing fast charging speeds of up to 150kW1. That’s enough to deliver up to 160 kilometres of range in as little as 10 minutes of charging, depending on the model of vehicle.
It’s all part of bp’s strategic partnership with Volkswagen that aims to significantly boost EV fast charging in key European markets by the end of 2024.
24 hours at bp’s busiest EV charging hub
Check out this time lapse film shot over 24 hours at bp’s busiest EV charging station, Hammersmith in London. In just one day, we sold almost 2,250kWh of electricity – that’s enough to power an EV from London to Berlin 10 times over.
And we want many more just like it. That’s why we’re planning to triple the size of our bp pulse network in the UK by 2030 with a £1 billion investment in infrastructure. It’s part of our support of the country’s transition to low carbon transportation for both consumers and fleet vehicles.
Computer coding is king at more than 500 EV Aral pulse ultra-fast charging points in Germany, where customers no longer need cash or even a card to make payment.
The Plug&Charge technology sees encrypted data exchanged automatically between charging point and vehicle. The charging point identifies the connected vehicle and the existing charging contract before starting the charge. Once the charge is complete, payment is automatic, based on the driver’s contract with their e-mobility service provider.
Launched in late-March across the Aral pulse network, the Plug&Charge solution is one of the first of its kind to be offered to customers.
“The new Plug&Charge technology makes charging at our Aral pulse ultra-fast charging stations much easier. Communication between everyone involved is encrypted and our customers’ data is, therefore, secure,” says Alexander Junge, Aral board member, who is responsible for the electromobility division.
bp has opened the Netherlands’ largest fast-charging hub for electric vehicles. Located at our Oude Haagseweg retail site in Amsterdam, the hub will help contribute to the Dutch capital’s goal to become an emissions-free city centre by 2025, with cars, trucks, delivery vans and public transport within ‘the Ring’ running only on renewable fuels.
The hub has 18 fast charging points, each with a capacity of 150kW. Earlier this month, bp opened our first fast-charging hub in the country at the Kadoelen retail site, which has 12 chargers. A third, at our Hemweg site – with a further 14 charging points – is expected to open by the end of the year.
And while they are charging, customers can pick up fresh food and drinks for the road at one of our partner convenience stores, Albert Heijn ‘to go’, located at the sites.
We plan to open hundreds of similar hubs in cities across Europe and the UK by 2030, offering EV drivers and fleet customers fast, convenient charging where and when they most need it.
AMPLY Power provides charging solutions for commercial fleets
bp has taken a first major step into the electric charging of commercial fleets operating trucks, buses and vans in the US with its acquisition of AMPLY Power.
AMPLY Power specializes in providing electric fleets with the right charging solutions. Its comprehensive Charging-as-a-Service (CaaS) approach for fleet operators helps to ensure each EV is optimally charged and available when needed, in exchange for a price-per-mile-driven fee. AMPLY’s proprietary software technology, OMEGA, helps fleet operators to manage energy costs and optimizes performance by providing real-time monitoring of EV charging operations and preventative maintenance for both vehicles and chargers.
It’s an important moment in bp’s global electrification strategy to scale up next-generation mobility solutions, says Richard Bartlett, SVP, future mobility and solutions: “bp is aiming to speed up electrification in the fast-growing fleet segment, which has a key role to play in lowering emissions from the transport sector. As we continue to invest in new forms of infrastructure and technology to serve our global fleet customers, AMPLY Power provides an ideal opportunity to build our EV business in the US. They bring an experienced team, a rapidly expanding customer base, and user-friendly digital platform.”
AMPLY POWER was named on the 2021 Global Cleantech 100 list for the second year in a row, and counts public and private fleets amongst its customers, including major transit operators and school bus providers.
A three-wheeled Vespar in India
It’s predicted that over the next 20 years, the two and three-wheeled electric vehicle market will rocket, with 750 million on the road by 2040, tripling that of today.
bp is joining up with Piaggio to accelerate the two- and three-wheeled electric mobility revolution across Europe and Asia – working alongside Jio-bp in India.
Together, we plan to develop integrated services, such as EV charging, battery swap services and stations, and vehicle leasing, in Europe, India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Motorbikes, motor scooters and compact commercial vehicles (including delivery vans) are the most highly electrified vehicle class globally.
Richard Bartlett, bp’s senior vice president, future mobility & solutions, said: “Working closely with Piaggio – a world leader in this market – we will aim to develop and deliver the innovative services that customers will need. This will support the growth of rapid and truly convenient urban mobility using zero tailpipe emission vehicles, enabling reductions in air pollution, and helping cities in their efforts to decarbonize.”
Find out more about BluSmart
BluSmart is an all-electric ride-hailing and EV charging company that has been named one of India’s top 25 start-ups in 2021. It’s won rave reviews for its customer service and for its plans to put more women drivers behind the wheel.
With the $13 million investment, the company is hoping to expand its growing EV fleet and charging stations from its home city of Delhi to five additional Indian cities in the next two years.
Richard Bartlett, who looks after future mobility solutions for bp, says the investment “is part of a plan to build a large global electrification business focused on the biggest markets in world – India is one of those markets.”
He adds: “BluSmart’s business model solves a number of key barriers to urban EV ride-hailing take-up, from the cost for drivers to the quality of customer experience.”
Find out more in the above film.
Meet Uber driver Charlie
Uber partner-drivers like Charlie can now access dedicated fast chargers in the heart of Central London, as bp pulse launches the first rapid charging hub for fleet vehicles.
The new multi-charger hub on Park Lane already has 10 rapid 50kW chargers, with a further 12 being added in the coming months. In our latest collaboration with ride-hailing giant, some of the chargers will be dedicated to Uber drivers.
With taxis and private hire vehicles set to dominate the capital’s public charging demand by 2025, this hub further supports the transition of businesses and fleets to electric vehicles.
bp intends to open hundreds of similar hubs across London (a second site is already under construction in the Westminster area) and other UK and European cities by 2030.
The new rapid charging hubs aim to deliver charging in locations where fleet and operational vehicles need it most – and, importantly, at scale. Partner-drivers on the Uber app will also benefit from discounts on bp pulse public charging and home charging units.
Additional facilities may be provided at each location, including toilets, WiFi and refreshments.
Driving the EVolution
What would it take to achieve more mainstream adoption of EVs? Four experts look at how we could get to three tipping points ̶ $36,000 price point, 31-minute charge time, and a range of 469 kilometres.
The findings of the panel from within Castrol, the wider bp group and the Jaguar Racing Formula E are published in a new report launched by Castrol, Driving the EVolution. In it, they identify three key areas of focus that will be central to achieving mainstream adoption:
According to bp’s Energy Outlook Rapid Transition Scenario estimate, there could be 1 billion electrified cars and trucks in the global vehicle parc by 2040, and EVs could account for 80% of passenger cars in use by 2050.
To this end, bp and Castrol are tackling main drivers to EV adoption, such as access to fast-charging through nationwide networks and improving the efficiency of a vehicle’s engine with high-performance e-Fluids.
Driving the EVolution follows Castrol’s 2020 study, Accelerating the EVolution, which explored the views of nearly 10,000 consumers, fleet managers and industry specialists across eight of the world’s most important EV markets.
Watch this film explaining how the DCS platform works
DCS works with some of the most iconic brands in the automotive industry, as well as fleet operators, to integrate charging solutions into vehicle operating systems. Through this on-board software, EV drivers can access 228,000 public charging points in 32 countries. The vehicle does the work to find the nearest available charger or plan the best charging route – taking the hassle out of navigating different networks or apps.
As part of the deal, will provide DCS customers access to an additional 9,000 charging points across Europe – improving access for drivers and allowing bp to reach a wider customer base, too.
A 3D visualization of what one of the hubs will look like
bp pulse is to expand its ultra-fast charging (UFC) infrastructure across the UK, with a series of new EV-only hubs.
The first EV charging and convenience hub with 24 UFC points is due to open later in 2021, with more planned in high-traffic locations, including within easy reach of the motorway network.
As it takes minutes rather than hours to get charged up on a bp pulse UFC, that’s just enough time to grab a coffee or something to eat at the onsite café.
The charging hubs will play a key role in helping to achieve bp pulse’s aim to double the size of its network in the UK to 16,000 charge points by 2030, with a particular emphasis on ultra-fast chargers. The total amount of charging on the bp pulse network is set to grow 30-fold by 2030.
Watch this short animation about the deal
bp and Volkswagen Group have agreed to a strategic collaboration, with plans to develop ultra-fast charging (UFC) at bp retail sites in the UK, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
The partnership would give EV drivers greater confidence in being able to access nearby, reliable, quality charging options. bp estimates that approximately 90% of people in the UK and Germany live within a 20-minute drive of a bp or Aral site.
The agreement includes bp becoming VW’s EV charging partner to develop an extensive UFC network.
The network would be integrated into VW’s cars, making finding and paying for charging easy. It would also be available for other EV customers, improving access to UFC more widely.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding for their collaboration in March 2021 and aim to finalize by the end of the year.
A bp pulse customer charges her car in London
It’s official. bp pulse, the UK’s largest EV public charging network, was the country’s fastest-growing rapid and ultra-fast charging network in 2020, according to data from EV mapping service Zap-Map. It shows that bp pulse added 167 public rapid charging locations across the nation – 65% more than any other UK provider.
The network delivered around 16 million kWh of energy, which equates to over 50 million miles of zero-emissions-at-tailpipe driving based on an efficiency of 3.5 miles per kWh. That’s 100 times the distance to the moon and back.
And that growth isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. In the first 40 days of 2021, the amount of energy bp pulse provided increased to more than 2 million kWh, a 19% jump on the same period last year.
This comes despite the UK being under heavy COVID-19 restrictions from 5 January, and vehicle traffic down 49% on levels from the start of 2020, suggesting that a greater number of EVs are now essential vehicles for many households.
The update of legacy infrastructure will be on old-style EV charging points such as this one
bp pulse has made £2 million available to radically improve the reliability of the UK’s legacy public charging infrastructure. It’s working with local authorities to upgrade and replace charge points across the country – meaning EV drivers will be able to charge in more places, more easily.
The business has already agreed over £400,000 in infrastructure investment to replace more than 50 legacy charge points, which are typically owned by local authorities and were originally installed with government grant funding. Further discussions are already under way relating to an additional £750,000 of funding available for legacy charge point owners, which could see more than 300 units upgraded.
Rachel Maclean, UK Transport Minister
Watch this short film on the new Castrol ON range and what it can do
Castrol has launched a new range of advanced e-Fluids for improved EV performance called Castrol ON.
The range includes:
Castrol ON e-Fluids, therefore, help to bring the automotive industry closer to achieving the three key tipping points for mainstream EV adoption, as identified by Castrol’s Accelerating the EVolution study. These are a charge time of 31 minutes, a range of 469 kilometres, and a price point of $36,000.
Aral pulse ultra-fast charging in Stuttgart, Germany
In 2019, Aral, bp’s market-leading fuel retail brand in Germany, began the roll-out of ultra-fast charging points at its retail sites. Now operating under a new name, ‘Aral pulse’, the charging network is set to expand faster than originally planned.
By the end of 2021, Aral pulse aims to have 500 ultra-fast charging points with a charging capacity of up to 350kW each in operation at more than 120 Aral filling stations. Vehicles with the appropriate battery technology can be charged for a range of up to 350 kilometres in just over 10 minutes. That’s the equivalent of driving non-stop from London to Manchester.