BP is set to roll-out rapid chargers to selected sites after it agreed to purchase Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging company.

Chargemaster operates the UK’s largest public network of EV charging points, with more than 6,500 across the country. It also designs, builds, sells and maintains EV charging units for a wide range of locations, including for home charging.

BP expects usage of EVs will increase rapidly in coming decades, and estimates there will be 12 million EVs on UK roads by 2040, up from around 135,000 in 2017.

It said development of convenient and innovative EV charging technologies and networks was a key part of its strategy to advance the energy transition.

The company believes that to accelerate the adoption of EVs, customers will require convenient access to fast and ultra-fast charging, and that its UK retail network is well positioned to provide this access with more than 1,200 service stations across the country.

It said a key priority for BP Chargemaster will be the roll-out of ultra-fast charging infrastructure, including 150kW rapid chargers capable of delivering 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes. BP customers in the UK can expect to access BP Chargemaster chargers on forecourts over the next 12 months.

Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP downstream, commented: “At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles. Combining BP’s and Chargemaster’s complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home.”

Founded in 2008, Chargemaster runs Polar, the largest public charging network in the UK. The company has over 40,000 customers to its Polar network, with an increasing number choosing to pay a monthly subscription, and the remainder access on a pay-as-you-go basis. Chargemaster is also a leading supplier of home charging points across the UK and has strong links with car manufacturers, as the charging partner for a number of car brands in the UK.

David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster, said: “The acquisition of Chargemaster by BP marks a true milestone in the move towards low carbon motoring in the UK. I am truly excited to lead the Chargemaster team into a new era backed by the strength and scale of BP, which will help us maintain our market-leading position and grow the national Polar charging network to support the large range of exciting new electric vehicles that are coming to market in the next couple of years.”