Electric vehicles: BP invests $5 million in charging business FreeWire

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Oil major subsidiary BP Ventures has invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a U.S. company that specializes in mobile electric vehicle (EV) rapid charging systems.

In an announcement Tuesday, the business said it planned to use the units at a selection of BP retail sites in the U.K. and Europe this year.

"Mobility is changing and BP is committed to remaining the fuel retailer of choice into the future," Tufan Erginbilgic, BP Downstream's chief executive, said in a statement. BP describes its downstream segment as having both global marketing and manufacturing operations; it is made up of fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses.

"EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving."

According to the International Energy Agency, the global electric car stock exceeded 2 million vehicles in 2016. In the U.K., the Office for Low Emission Vehicles is providing more than £900 million to place Britain at "the global forefront" of the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles.