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BP enters European EV charging partnership with BMW, Daimler

30 March 2021

BP is acquiring a partnership stake in a vehicle charging company founded by BMW Group and Daimler AG unit Daimler Mobility.

The agreement announced 30 March calls for the oil major to hold a one-third stake in Digital Charging Solutions (DCS).

DCS already offers access to 228,000 charging points in 32 countries, according to the announcement. The agreement is expected to see BP add 8,700 charging points in Europe. These charging points will include ultrafast chargers of more than 150 kw. BP is also expected to develop new integrated offers for fleets, including through its Fuel & Charge program.

Financial details of the deal were not revealed.

IHS Markit forecast in January that light-duty EV sales in Europe will be about 28% of global sales of 2.5 million vehicles in 2021. Only the Chinese market is bigger.

Sales in Europe have been, and will continue to be, boosted by regulations that set a requirement for each manufacturer's light-duty fleet to average carbon emissions of no more than 95 g/km CO2. Because companies can earn and trade credits, sales of EVs are critical to balancing emissions from other vehicles, IHS Markit noted.

BP is among the most aggressive and vocal of the major oil companies in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and transition to new sources of energy. The company announced in August 2020 that it planned to increasingly focus on renewable energy, hike its investments in low-carbon energy, and slash oil and natural gas output by 40% within the decade.

During 2020, the company increased its global count of electric charging stations by 10,000, including the rollout of ultrafast charging stations in the UK and Germany. Company executives said BP would grow its charging network by 10% this year and plans to offer 70,000 charging stations globally by 2030. The increased emphasis on charging is expected to support the company's retail operations, another area that BP is seeking to expand.

DCS said its in-car software is integrated into vehicle operating systems, allowing vehicles and chargers to communicate without the need for additional customer authentication. DCS already operates Mercedes me Charge, BMW Charging, and MINI Charging services, the company said.

The agreement calls for BP's European charging networks to be integrated into DCS' software system for retail customers and fleets. "Our aim is to make charging as convenient as refueling at the pump — fast, reliable and a great customer experience," said Richard Bartlett, BP's senior vice president, future mobility and solutions. He said the partnership "gives us access to a much wider customer base, ultimately driving up utilization rates on our network."

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval, the partners said.

Original reporting by Steve Cronin, OPIS.

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