The oil giant BP will be investing $5 million into the US-based mobile electric vehicle charging tech firm FreeWire, it has announced.
While the move is notable, you’ll also probably notice that $5 million is essentially just chump change to BP — so the investment probably doesn’t amount to much but PR from the BP side of things. FreeWire, of course, may well find the investment funding quite useful.
The plan is reportedly for the new funding to be used by FreeWire as part of an expansion into the UK and Europe (and no, I don’t consider the UK and Ireland to be a part of “Europe” — though I’m aware that some people do).
Last summer, BP made some rumbling noises about installing EV chargers at its gas stations, and it looks like this is the solution, or at least part of it.
“In BP’s new electric vehicle venture, the $5 million pie will go to the US company FreeWire, which markets a clever little EV charging station on wheels called Mobi. You just plug it into any home outlet that can handle a major household appliance and you’re good to go,” Tina Casey of CleanTechnica writes.
“Mobi comes equipped with onboard energy storage in the form of ‘second-life’ EV batteries, so yes, electric vehicles are already eating themselves.
“Considering that Mobi is about the size of a pushcart, it sounds like you’re not going to spend much time on installation, right? All you need is a place to park your Mobi and a place to plug it in. BP expects to send the little guys rolling into selected BP stations this year in the UK and Europe.
“This news follows on the somewhat recent announcement that Royal Dutch Shell was acquiring the electric vehicle (EV) charging tech firm NewMotion — as part of an expansion into the EV charging station sector.”
Reuters provides more: “The expected rapid growth in the use of electric vehicles in the coming decades is threatening oil companies’ business model as demand for some road fuels could plateau as early as the late 2020s.”
Commenting on the news, BP Downstream CEO Tufan Erginbilgic stated: “Mobility is changing and BP is committed to remaining the fuel retailer of choice into the future. EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”
For more information on the Shell acquisition of NewMotion, see: Giant NewMotion EV Charging Network Acquired By Shell.