BP invests $5M in mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire; intro at some retail sites this year
BP’s venturing business has invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies Inc., a US-based manufacturer of mobile electric vehicle (EV) rapid charging systems, and plans to roll out FreeWire’s Mobi Charger units for use at selected BP retail sites in the UK and Europe during 2018.
Freewire products currently offer Level 2 charging at 7.5 kW or DC fast charging at 50 kW. The L2 models recharge from a wall outlet; each unit is equipped with dual J1772 plugs and can charge 2 vehicles at once. The L3 fast chargers also recharge from a wall outlet; each model is compatible with CHAdeMO or Tesla standards. Mobi Chargers are intelligent networked stations that allow flexible pricing and electricity delivery, track energy usage for reimbursement, and provide remote access of the stations.
The chargers are supported by a software platform in which everything is accessible from a central dashboard. A mobile app for the drivers makes the charging experience seamless and convenient.
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.
Using FreeWire’s mobile system we can respond very quickly and provide charging facilities at forecourts where we see the greatest demand without needing to make significant investments in today’s fixed technologies and infrastructure. The opportunity also to explore options for providing charging services away from our existing retail sites makes FreeWire an ideal partner for BP.—Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP Downstream
BP says it is committed to supporting the transition to a lower carbon economy through focusing on reducing its own operational emissions, improving its products to enable customers to lower their emissions and creating low carbon businesses. BP Ventures supports each of these areas by identifying emerging trends and businesses, making strategic investments and testing technologies and solutions for their scalability. The investment in FreeWire is an example of how BP Ventures is working alongside BP’s Downstream business.
BP first worked with FreeWire through the RocketSpace Tech Mobility Accelerator, and we believe its mobile fast charging technology will be one of a number of fuelling options that will be needed to address the future of lower carbon mobility. We were encouraged by FreeWire’s expertise and their product. We are excited to be making this investment and to continue working with them, testing customer demand for the product and further developing the offering for the fast growing EV supply equipment market.—David Gilmour, vice president of BP Ventures
Since 2006, BP Ventures has invested more than $400 million in corporate venturing and has 42 active investments in its current portfolio. BP Ventures’ portfolio is primarily focused on emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration and production and downstream conversion processes. In addition, it has a renewed strategic focus on five key areas: bio & low carbon products, carbon management, power & storage, advanced mobility and digital transformation.