Volkswagen Group and bp to join forces to expand ultra-fast electric vehicle charging across Europe

Source: press release, 15 March 2021

Plan to develop ultra-fast EV charging network at bp retail sites
Plan to develop ultra-fast EV charging network at bp retail sites (photo: Aral)

Volkswagen and bp have announced they intend to work together on extending and speeding up the deployment of ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities at bp retail sites across the UK, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Extensive ultra-fast charging networks are seen by both companies as essential to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding for their collaboration and intend to finalise agreements in coming months. This would bring together two leading global players in mobility to develop a network of ultra-fast chargers at convenient and high-quality locations – bp sites, and Aral sites in Germany.

The partnership should give EV drivers greater confidence in being able to access nearby, reliable, quality charging options. bp estimates approximately 90% of people in the UK and Germany live within a 20-minute drive of a bp or Aral site.

The agreement would also make bp the Volkswagen Group’s EV charging partner, with the integration of bp’s charging network into VW Group vehicles to make finding and paying for charging fast and simple. The network would also be available for other EV customers as part of the bp pulse network (Aral pulse in Germany), improving access to ultra-fast charging for EV drivers more widely.

Emma Delaney, bp’s executive vice president, customers and products, says, “Enabling the rapid expansion of electric vehicles is core to bp’s plans to grow our convenience and mobility business, and supports our net zero ambition. Partnering with Volkswagen Group – one of the world’s great automotive companies – we intend to address a key concern for people considering buying an EV: range anxiety. Together we can provide drivers in the UK and Europe with the fast, reliable and convenient charging solutions they need to feel more confident about making the switch. By deploying ultra-fast charging, rapidly and at large scale, we can establish a leading position and help accelerate the take-up of EVs.”

Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Volkswagen Group and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, says, “Ultra-fast charging is the key enabler for e-mobility and therefore a main pillar for Volkswagen´s transformation. Together with strong partners like bp we take this important matter into our hands and will build up to 18,000 new chargers in Europe. That is about 1/3 of the estimated ultra-fast charging demand in 2025.”

Electrification is at the heart of bp’s convenience and mobility strategy, and the company aims to grow its network of public EV charging points by 2030 to over 70,000 worldwide. bp pulse is already the most used EV charging network in the UK and plans to have around 250 ultrafast chargers operating at bp retail sites by the end of this year. In Germany, Aral pulse is also already rolling out ultrafast charging points across its retail sites – expecting to have 500 installed by year end.

bp and Aral retail sites are ideal locations to offer a superior charging experience for EV drivers. They are conveniently-located, safe, manned by trained staff and offer many other services.

Ultra-fast charging units, with a power output greater than 150 kW, can charge a vehicle with the appropriate battery technology for a range of around 160 km in just over 10 minutes ‎–‎ broadly as fast as refuelling at the pump.