Oil giant buys UK's largest electric vehicle charging network

charge master charging points photo
CC BY-SA 2.0 Glen Wallace

Change is coming. Oil giants would be smart to diversify. And some are doing precisely that.

When Royal Dutch Shell bought Europe's largest electric vehicle charging network, and then followed up by buying a utility, I suggested that Big Oil was beginning to show signs that it was recognizing the threat of the electrification of transportation.

In another such sign, BP—which has made moves in electric vehicle charging before—has snapped up Chargemaster, which operates 6,500 charging stations across the UK, and is rebranding it as BP Chargemaster.

As reported over at The Guardian, the company is promising to prioritize rollout of fast and ultra-fast 150KW charging, which will be able to add about 100 miles of charge in ten minutes, assuming the availability of cars that can accept such rates.

Of course, even this £130m acquisition is small potatoes compared to BP's core business of refining and selling dead dinosaur juice and other fossil fuels. And I'm sure there will be those who argue that Big Oil's involvement in the nascent charging sector could result in predatory delay and sabotage. But I, for one, am hopeful. As someone with firsthand experience of driving two plug-in vehicles, I'm increasingly convinced that electrified transportation is simply better, more convenient, and cheaper for the vast majority of consumers.

It's beginning to seem inevitable that electric vehicles will triumph. Oil giants would do well to get involved before they get left behind.

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