BP Pulse has signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FreeWire Technologies to deploy its Boost Charger at its UK operations.
If finalised, this initial agreement could be valued at over $50 million (£38 million) and is set to help support BP Pulse’s goal of operating 700 or more ultra-fast public chargers by 2025.
FreeWire’s battery-integrated charging technology removes the need for every ultra-fast charger installed to have a high-power grid connection, according to the companies, therefore allowing for faster and more widespread charger deployment.
This comes after BP’s VP of advanced mobility, Roy Williams, told audiences at an industry event in February that the company had rolled out “significantly less” of its ultra-fast chargers in 2019 than planned, because “we couldn’t get the DNO infrastructure in place to make this stuff happen quickly enough”.
Freewire’s Boost Charger is designed to help bypass the need for grid upgrades, connecting to existing low-voltage grid connections. Its 160kWh lithium-ion battery then helps to both reduce standing charges for electricity supply at the site and helps to charge vehicles during times of high demand.
BP has an existing relationship with the US-headquartered energy tech firm, having invested US$5 million (£3.53 million) in the company in 2018 and then leading its most recent funding round in April through BP Ventures.
FreeWire’s CEO Arcady Sosinov said that BP Pulse is “keenly aware of grid limitations” and the challenges associated with ultra-fast charging in certain locations, with the agreement between the two companies being a “strong recognition” of the benefits of battery-integrated charging.
BP Pulse is the new name for both BP Chargemaster and the Polar network, rebranded earlier this month as part of the consolidation of the two companies.
It scooped up what it claimed to be the “UK’s largest ever” EV charging contract in October to supply 1,000 chargers to Police Scotland.
This followed BP announcing in February it would "fundamentally re-organise" in order to pursue a net zero aim of 2050.
Ross Mabon, chief operating officer of BP Pulse, said the new deal with FreeWire will allow the company to expand faster and to provide coverage in areas where “securing new, larger grid connections would make installing such infrastructure more challenging”.
“We’re delighted to have made this initial agreement and look forward to progressing to a full contract.”