Talking Points

BP follows other gas-station brands, adds electric-car charging

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Major oil companies are beginning to take the threat of electric cars seriously, and the latest evidence comes from British Petroleum.

BP has begun discussions with electric-vehicle makers to partner on a network of charging stations.

The move comes as many European countries announce plans to ban the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars in coming decades.

BP hopes to earn a piece of the charging market, which is forecasted to grow significantly in the coming years, according to Reuters.

The report says multiple discussions are ongoing with makers of electric cars, though BP is examining other ways it can enter the new market.

A recent analysis from BP predicts more than 100 million electric cars will be on the road by 2035—meaning 100 million fewer cars purchasing gasoline or diesel fuels.

1503048033-5654-e-jersey-city-nj-100597115-m2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at EVgo fast-charging station, Newport Centre, Jersey City, NJ

Furthermore, peak demand oil is expected to occur as early as next decade, per a handful of analysts and data crunchers.

BP isn’t alone in its quest to move away from fossil fuels, however.

Rival Shell began to add electric-car charging stations to its fueling stations earlier this year in the Netherlands.

Specifically, Shell sees the installation of electric-car charging stations as a new business opportunity.

While drivers wait for their cars to charge, they may “want to have a coffee or something to eat,” a Shell spokesperson said.

In fact, this isn’t BP’s first step into the electric-car charging station realm.

1503048033-7104-tation-in-europe-100590975-mShell fuel station in Europe

In 2010, it announced that 45 of its fueling stations in the United States would be outfitted with charging stations in a pilot program.

The initiative was only a tiny sliver of its business, though: BP operates 11,000 fuel stations across the U.S.

BP will continue to approach the electric-car charging station market with caution as it works out a true strategy to tackle the rise of electric cars.

The oil company plans to make investments in future technologies, but they will be small stakes in companies or partnerships.

If and when traditional oil companies take on the electric-car charging station market remains to be seen, but a host of dedicated electric-vehicle charging networks have been operating for several years.

1503048033-1116-charging-station-100613386-mebee streelight charging station

That’s not to mention automakers that simply make the investments themselves—most notably, Tesla, which continues to expand its Supercharger network.

While BP approaches the charging market with restraint, it remains entirely unclear which mix of companies, carmakers, and fossil-fuel distributors may end up among the leaders of the emerging charging-station market.

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