One of the world’s largest contributors to greenhouse emissions, British oil and gas supermajor BP, is getting into the EV battery business.
It announced this week that it is investing up to £50 million ($A88 million) to build a new and state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) battery testing centre in the UK.
BP has previously committed to invest up to £18 million in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030, but this new investment will be in addition to previous commitments and highlights the company’s continued commitment to investing in the UK’s energy sector.
The new EV battery testing centre and analytical laboratory will be built at BP’s global headquarters for its Castrol business in Pangbourne, Berkshire, and is expected to be open by the end of 2024.
While it’s certainly encouraging to see BP getting into the battery business, it’s also important to keep the latest announcement in perspective. BP this week announced record windfall earnings from the energy crisis, but most of this will go back into the pockets of shareholders, rather than in green investments.
To put the battery testing centre funding in perspective, it accounts for just only 0.6% of the company’s projected 2022 capital expenditure.
Examples of products developed by Castrol include Castrol ON advanced EV fluids which manage temperatures within the battery, which in turn enables ultra-fast charging and improves battery efficiency.
Supporting this work, the new EV battery testing facilities will help to advance the development of leading fluid technologies and engineering for both hybrid and fully electric vehicles. BP hopes that the facility will play an important role in bringing the industry closer to achieving a tipping point for the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.
“The growth of EV fluids is a huge opportunity, and we aim to be the market leader in this sector,” said Michelle Jou, CEO of Castrol. “Two thirds of the world’s major car manufacturers use Castrol ON EV fluids as a part of their factory fill and we also supply Castrol ON EV fluids to the Jaguar TCS Racing Formula E team.
Castrol also intends to utilise the new battery testing facilities to continue collaborating with car manufacturers and suppliers to co-engineer future battery technology and associated thermal management fluids.
The new facilities will also look to develop new technologies that will be necessary in enabling ultra-fast charging.
The advanced e-fluid technologies and engineering developed at the site can also be applied to other industries such as thermal management fluids for data centres – a potentially massive opportunity for BP, as demand for data centres continues to skyrocket.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.