BP and DiDi join forces to build EV charging network in China

Source: press release, 1 August 2019

The BP-DiDi pilot site in Guangzhou in the Guangdong province has ten fast-charging units, ranging from 60-120 kW
The BP-DiDi pilot site in Guangzhou in the Guangdong province has ten fast-charging units, ranging from 60-120 kW (photo: DiDi/BP)

BP and China’s Didi Chuxing (DiDi) have announced they have agreed to form a new joint venture to build electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in China, the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. The new joint venture plans to develop a network of EV charging hubs across the country.

DiDi is a multi-modal transportation platform, offering users a full range of app-based options, including ride-hailing, automobile solutions sharing, and other services. Its platform already has approximately 550 million users and around 600,000 EVs are running on it in China.

BP has a global fuels retailing and convenience business operating in 18 countries globally, with over 18,700 retail sites, and with a significant and rapidly-growing presence in China.

The joint venture will develop standalone, reliable and high-quality charging hubs to provide EV charging services to DiDi’s drivers and the public. The partners also intend to expand the venture into loyalty and convenience offerings and other fleet services in the near future.

Tufan Erginbilgic, BP’s Downstream chief executive says, “As the world’s largest EV market, China offers extraordinary opportunities to develop innovative new businesses at scale and we see this as the perfect partnership for such a fast-evolving environment. The lessons we learn here will help us further expand BP’s advanced mobility business worldwide, helping drive the energy transition and develop solutions for a low carbon world.”

“Combining BP’s global retail capability, EV charging expertise and experience with DiDi’s unrivalled mobility service platform, our partnership will aggregate demand and provide high-quality, fast, reliable and safe charging for DiDi drivers and the public in China. DiDi is already converting to electric vehicles and has a very large user base, so we expect to drive high utilisation of charging assets from Day One.”

Cheng Wei, Chairman and CEO of DiDi, says, “We look forward to combining our strengths to create a robust EV charging network for China, promote the growth of the new energy automotive industry, and provide better experience for car owners across the country.”

BP and DiDi have already opened a pilot site in Guangzhou in the Guangdong province, with ten fast-charging units, ranging from 60-120 kW. This site will migrate into the joint venture once live. The venture aims to expand rapidly, with an ambition to quickly become the leading EV charging provider in China.

China is the world’s largest and fastest-developing EV market with around 50% of the world’s BEVs today. By 2030, we expect around 80% of EV charging in China to be done at destination, forecourt and fleet hub charge points.

BP is committed to being a fuel provider for both conventional and electric vehicles in its businesses worldwide. Following the acquisition in 2018 of BP Chargemaster, a UK electric vehicle charging company, BP is now beginning roll out of ultra-fast chargers at sites in the UK. BP has also invested in innovative fast-charging battery technology firm StoreDot.

In China, this work already includes an investment in NIO Capital’s investment fund focused on China’s new energy vehicle ecosystem and also an equity investment in PowerShare, which offers an online platform connecting EV drivers, charge point operators and power suppliers.

Xiaoping Yang, BP China chairman and president, adds, “China offers tremendous growth opportunities for BP. Partnering with DiDi enables BP to actively contribute to China’s fast-growing EV charging market with differentiated offers, and also to further expand our business footprint in the country.”