What's going on?
Oil behemoth BP announced on Thursday that it’s buying the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company, Chargemaster. Go green or go home.
What does this mean?
BP used to be called British Petroleum for a reason: fossil fuels like oil used to be its entire business. But the world’s changing and BP doesn’t want to be left behind. Although it might seem odd for a major oil company to invest in clean energy (remember when Amazon disrupted its book-selling business by launching the Kindle?), BP wants to power up its position in the car-fueling market – whatever your fuel of choice.
Why should I care?
For markets: Green is the new black.
Investors seem to think BP’s doing something right: its stock rose slightly on the news. Although it’s early doors for EVs (they’re less than 1% of the US car market), they’re expected to get popular, quickly. BP’s paying just $170 million for Chargemaster – peanuts for an oil titan. Getting into EV charging early could help BP avoid going the way of the Walkman and becoming irrelevant. This deal echoes Shell’s 2017 purchase of an EV charging company – both may be in response to mounting pressure on oil companies to fight climate change.
The bigger picture: All roads lead to electric.
While electric cars aren’t common yet, BP’s predicting there’ll be as many as 300 million of them zipping around by 2040 – and all these EV drivers will need somewhere to e-fuel up. BP plans to roll out ultra-fast chargers over the next year, capable of giving 100 miles of juice in just 10 minutes. About half of BP’s profit comes from other things people buy at gas stations, so BP needs to make sure that it keeps those customers rolling in – no matter what they’re driving. All of this will make it much easier for you to own an electric car – if you choose to own a car at all…