British Petroleum, now referred to as BP and stylized as bp, has joined the BMW Group and Daimler as the third shareholder in Digital Charging Solutions (DCS), a venture formed with the intent of increasing the availability of charging stations throughout Europe. BP’s stake in DCS equates to 33.3%, matching both BMW and Daimler, and the company is behind the Charge Now and Your Now joint ventures between the two German automakers. BP intends to expand its own network of public charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe to more than 70,000 by 2030, in an attempt to meet the growing demand for power needed by the next generation of automobiles.
Although countless automakers including Mercedes-Benz and BMW Group brands Rolls-Royce and Mini have announced their intentions to go all-electric by 2030 in terms of their vehicle lineups, where and how the vehicles of the future will be charged remains a question, as charging infrastructure, even in Europe, remains in a relative infancy compared with filling stations for gasoline and diesel fuels.
“We are really excited to have bp as strategic partner and shareholder at the same time. Our business models are highly complementary,” explained Jörg Reimann, CEO of Digital Charging Solutions GmbH. “We provide access to the largest network of charging points in Europe—now we are designing and delivering superior services for our current and future customers.”
“Our aim is to make charging as convenient as refuelling at the pump—fast, reliable, and highly integrated with the vehicle operating system to provide a great customer experience. We’re excited to have completed this transaction and look forward to working with our partners to continue to provide EV drivers with access to convenient charging where they need it,” said Richard Bartlett, senior vice president, future mobility & solutions, BP.
The services provided by DCS are considered essential for the automotive industry’s transition to electrification, and the company already provides what is considered unrivaled access across Europe, with more than 85% coverage in 29 countries. In addition to the Charge Now and Your Now joint ventures between Daimler and BMW, DCS also operates brand-specific charging services such as BMW Charging, Mini Charging, and Mercedes me Charge.
With BP’s investment, an additional 9,000 rapid and ultra-fast charging points with more than 150kW of capacity will be added to BP’s networks, which include Aral Pulse in Germany and BP Pulse in the U.K. Ultra-fast Aral Pulse charging stations in Germany are anticipated to come online during the first quarter of 2022, and both of the networks will work with services such as Plug & Charge, which allow for seamless charging without the use of an app or card. Business customers will also gain access to benefits and fleet services that go beyond fueling, washing, and the handling of tolls.
“This collaboration brings our leading charging network a huge step forward. Especially the electrification of fleets and fleet management will see a comprehensive boost—we will jointly drive innovation, increase our customer focus, and accelerate CO2 reduction. We welcome bp as a strong and progressive partner,” added Rainer Feurer, senior vice president of Investments at the BMW Group.
The news regarding continued collaboration between BMW and Daimler comes as a welcome development, after the ride-sharing joint venture ShareNow was withdrawn from the U.S. market back in 2019, and the two automakers halted their cooperation on autonomous driving technology in 2020.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG, BP plc.]