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Powering electric vehicle uptake – how do we accelerate the transition to EV and give consumers the ‎confidence to switch?

Release date:
9 September 2021
Richard Bartlett, SVP future mobility & solutions 

World EV Day, EV Summit Online Series

Hello, fantastic to be here! ‎

Thank you, Minister, for your opening remarks. It’s an exciting vision and the recently published Transport ‎Decarbonisation Strategy certainly gives us the pathway we need.‎

From aviation to shipping – and of course electric vehicles – bp is leading the way.‎

Can I start by asking a simple question: where are we today?‎


The market is booming – in the UK, sales of EVs in 2021 will be double 2020, and four times’ 2019.‎

No OEM, as Sarah will testify, is having a problem selling EVs right now! ‎

bp operates more than 8,000 public charging points across the UK, including the largest number of high-speed ‎chargers in the market.‎

It’s looking like bp pulse alone will power around 100 million miles of zero tailpipe emission in 2021 alone. ‎

Just today, our new ultra-fast EV motorway hub has opened in Scotland – that’s one million more EV miles ‎each year.‎

We’re partnering with businesses – from our EV hub on Park Lane for Uber and other commercial fleets, to ‎partnerships with Didi in China, BMW Group and Daimler in Germany and elsewhere, and with VW – Sarah, ‎delighted to be working with you.‎

But this is still a nascent market 


We must not take consumer confidence for granted – if we do we’ll fail. So we have to step up:‎


  • We’ll need to deliver better customer service which – full disclosure – is not proving easy as ‎demand explodes ‎
  • Industry reliability will have to go up too – from an average of 90% to 99.9% ‎
  • We’re investing millions in both service and reliability – so improvements are coming
  • We also have to be honest – EVs aren’t right for everyone today – the upfront cost can be higher and ‎it isn’t as ‘easy’ as filling up with petrol, something the Minister has rightly said she wants to see change.‎


But we can also be proud that it works for so many right now:‎


  • In less time than it takes for a cup of tea, a Kit Kat and a trip to the loo, you could get more ‎than 100 miles of range for some EVs on our highest speed chargers
  • We have contactless payment and the ability to pay for charging without an app or an ‎account
  • And of course the ‘total cost of ownership’ – once fuel savings are factored in – of an EV is ‎already lower than a traditional vehicle for some drivers.‎


We’ll need to deliver different charging speeds for different needs – it’s not ‘one size fits all’.‎


  • Drivers will need an ultra-fast charger if they’re on the motorway, but not if you’re at the ‎cinema – or your car would be full before the adverts had finished! You’ll need a 50kW or ‎slower there
  • And millions of new workplace and home chargers will be needed – which we’re already ‎delivering. And those without driveways will need reliable, affordable alternatives of course.‎
  • Ultimately, as an industry we must be bold and innovate. It’s our role to design, engineer, and ‎above all deliver. We must win the confidence of the consumer – and of government – to deliver this ‎vital infrastructure.‎


But we will get there!‎

Let’s think for a moment about how we might measure success: ‎

It won’t just be by counting the number of chargers that’s for sure. It’s not about the size of your network, but ‎what it can deliver.‎

Rushing to put in charging – regardless of the speed – into street furniture isn’t the answer.‎


  • If one of our ultra-fast chargers was charging for just one third of the time, it would deliver about ‎‎1,000 kWh a day – a single lamp-post charger would deliver just 40 kwh in the same amount of time. ‎


So local, regional, devolved and national government can think creatively about this – and about land use too; ‎there is land out there that could be reassigned and reprioritised for EV charging hubs. We won’t meet the ‎forecast demand otherwise.‎

So, we’re going to be working closely with government on this – not just with Rachel and her colleagues in the ‎DfT but with BEIS too, OZEV of course, Downing Street and Treasury, and Ofgem


I want to end on the one piece of work we have to prioritise to drive progress and deliver consumer confidence:‎


  • Many new chargers – on public, private commercial land or even at home – require new or ‎upgraded connections to the electricity grid ‎
  • This can involve complex negotiations with DNOs and other parties ‎
  • As an industry, this element of the journey is going much, much too slowly – to the detriment of the ‎driver (or should I say the voter, Minister) and industry
  • We must all do better here – some EV charging points can take the best part of a year to install – this ‎simply isn’t good enough.‎

bp is absolutely committed to working more closely with DNOs to drive change:‎


  • Just as bp is transforming its ways of working; DNOs will transform theirs, I know‎
  • In some areas we may need government guidance on more helpful interpretations of existing ‎obligations
  • And, yes, legislation may be required too.‎

On Saturday, Ofgem announced a new approach to how grid connections for new charging hubs will be ‎funded. This will need careful implementation but it is a welcome start.‎

So this is about partnerships – together we can get this right:‎


  • Accelerating progress in British EV charging infrastructure
  • Delivering a wave of innovation by British companies to export around the world ‎
  • And above all, reducing the UK’s emissions and carbon footprint, helping it meet its Net Zero targets
  • It’s why I have the best job in the world as we accelerate towards a brilliant and incredibly exciting EV ‎future.‎

Thank you

Notes to editors


Speech from an EV Summit Online Series panel discussion held to mark World EV Day. ‎The speakers were:‎


  • Richard Bartlett, bp
  • Sarah Cox, head of marketing, VW
  • Oliver Johnson, head of eMobility, ABB
  • Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Transport Decarbonisation and ‎Future ‎of Transport
  • Rachel Burden, BBC Radio 5 (moderator)