BP Ventures invests $20 million into an ultra-fast-charging battery developer called StoreDot that targets a battery for electric vehicles that charges in just 5 minutes. The goal is to commercialize a flash battery for mobile communication devices as early as 2019 followed by an EV battery. Who said petroleum companies were sitting on a goldmine and not taking advantage of it?
Does BP Have A Green Future?
It will take some time for many to see petroleum companies as green … if we ever do. After decades of scandals and disasters, those companies seem to carry a permanent pollution stench and stigma.
All too aware of it, a few years ago, I was on a BP focus panel when BP changed its logo to shrink and move away from the center the letters BP and replace them with a green & yellow flower-like logo. Get it? If the logo is green…
But wishful thinking about going back to the good old days, whatever they were, has not stopped the electric vehicle (EV) progression. In fact, the EV progression’s numbers are growing rapidly and many petroleum companies are trying to make sure they are not left out of the emerging industry. It seems BP has come to the same conclusion as most of us did about ultra-fast charging and will focus on it in order to accelerate EV adoption globally.
Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of BP Downstream, said: “Ultra-fast charging is at the heart of BP’s electrification strategy. StoreDot’s technology shows real potential for car batteries that can charge in the same amount time it takes to fill a gas tank. With our growing portfolio of charging infrastructure and technologies, we’re excited by our opportunities to develop truly innovative EV customer offers. We are committed to being the fuel provider of choice — no matter what car our customers drive.”
StoreDot & The Companies Doing The Heavy Work
As far as what StoreDot is all about, the company is apparently still working with lithium-ion-based battery technology, but it took them into a new realm of ultra-fast charging — so far, to be clear, just for the mobile and industrial markets. The company is now developing its next battery as an ultra-fast charging one for EVs. These EV batteries will charge in approximately as much time as it would take to refuel a gas car. As to when StoreDot expects to bring its mobile device flash batteries to the market, that could be as early as 2019. We can only hope the EV batteries will follow by only a year or two at most.
Its fundamental design rests on using both organic and inorganic compounds combined with nano-materials optimized for various ultra-fast charging battery applications. Dr. Doron Myerdorf, Co-Founder and CEO of StoreDot, said: “Working closely together with a global energy leader is a significant milestone in StoreDot’s direction of strengthening the EV ultra-fast charging eco-system. The combination of BP’s impressive presence and StoreDot’s eco-system of EV partnerships enables faster implementation of ultra-fast charging stations and could allow a better charging experience for drivers.”
As such, David Gilmour, vice president of business development at BP Ventures, added: “The technology to support EVs is advancing rapidly and BP Ventures is committed to identifying and investing in companies that we believe are at the cutting edge of this industry. StoreDot has shown significant progress in the development of ultra-fast charging, both in mobile phone and vehicle applications. BP looks forward to working alongside them, as an investor and strategic partner, to bring their technology from the lab to the vehicle.”
BP — Branching into Plugs
BP has over 70 charge points at its retail sites globally and has been investing here and there in cleantech companies. This includes a January 2018, $5 million investment in mobile EV rapid charging systems FreeWire Technologies.
BP Ventures is a funding arm of BP that identifies and invests in private, high-growth, potentially game-changing technology companies. And although its portfolio is mainly focused on emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration and production, as well as downstream conversion processes, it has started to focus its strategy on 5 key areas: advanced mobility, bio & low carbon products, carbon management, digital transformation, and power & storage. Let’s keep the heat going and help BP step up to its environmental stewardship role. How? Go electric!
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