BP looks to battery power for fast chargers

BP looks to battery power for fast chargers

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

bp pulse has signed a preliminary exclusive deal with FreeWire Technologies in California to deploy battery-backed fast chargers across the UK.

The exclusive MOU (memorandum of understanding) is for bp pulse, formerly Chargemaster, to deploy FreeWire’s Boost Charger in its operations across the UK. The battery-integrated systems avoid the need for fast chargers to have a high power grid connection.

The initial agreement between the two companies, which if finalised could be valued at more than $50 million, will help bp pulse to meet its goal of operating 700 or more ultra-fast public chargers by 2025. The Boost Charger is an integrated solution that provides fast charging without requiring costly and time-intensive grid upgrades.

This connects to existing low-voltage grid connections while enabling fast charging using an integrated 160 kWh lithium-ion battery. This can virtually eliminate the costs associated with grid upgrades and reduces ongoing costs by reducing standing charges for electricity supply at the site.

“At bp pulse we’re committed to delivering fast, convenient and seamless charging to our customers. FreeWire’s Boost Charger can be an exciting addition to our EV charging solutions, allowing us to expand our network faster, and in more locations than previously possible,” said Ross Mabon, Chief Operating Officer of bp pulse.

“In creating a truly nationwide ultra-fast charging network, this technology will help us to provide coverage in areas where securing new, larger grid connections would make installing such infrastructure more challenging. We’re delighted to have made this initial agreement and look forward to progressing to a full contract.”

The UK has set a target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and the government has announced recently that it will be ending the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, driving increased EV adoption.

“We’re thrilled to be working with and supporting bp pulse in its ambitious plans to deploy widespread ultra-fast charging infrastructure across the UK,” said FreeWire CEO Arcady Sosinov. “As a leader in the UK charging market, bp pulse is keenly aware of grid limitations and the challenges of delivering ultra-fast charging in certain locations. This agreement is a strong recognition of the benefits of battery-integrated charging technology and its ability to accelerate an all-electric future.”

Most electric cars on sale in the UK have a maximum charging speed of 100kW or higher, so the demand for fast chargers is increasing, reaching the same level of charge in half the time – or less – than a typical 50kW rapid charger. It only requires a relatively modest grid connection, similar to a typical household supply, to trickle charge the battery and provide an additional power boost while charging, if required.

EV fast chargers can place significant demands on the grid, especially on a local level and certain locations can’t be easily upgraded to high power connections. The flexibility of the Boost Charger solution means that significantly more locations will be able to benefit from ultra-fast charging.

bp pulse (formerly bp Chargemaster) has supplied over 60,000 public, workplace and home charging units, and is now rolling out 150kW ultra-rapid chargers on bp retail sites.

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