(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc agreed to acquire Amply Power, a provider of electric-vehicle charging services, in an expansion of its e-mobility business in the U.S.
Electrification is at the center of energy-transition plans for Europe’s oil majors. BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have bet on a growing takeup of electric vehicles by investing in charging networks in the U.K. and Germany. Now BP is beefing up its EV offering in America to serve an expanding market there.
“Amply Power provides an ideal opportunity to build our EV business in the U.S.,” Richard Bartlett, senior vice president for BP’s Future Mobility and Solutions division, said in a statement, without disclosing financial terms.
Amply, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializes in charging for fleets of vehicles, a trickier task than filling up with liquid fuels since prices for electricity can vary according to the time of day, while many power providers base fees on the maximum amount a customer uses in a month.
The complexities of charging EVs came “out of left field for the fleet operators,” Amply founder and Chief Executive Officer Vic Shao said in an interview. “They’ve gotten really, really good at managing gas and diesel. With electricity, it’s just a really weird domain.”
Amply will operate as a distinct business unit within BP while tapping the oil company’s financial resources to grow, according to Shao. That could mean branching out beyond the U.S. market, he said.
For BP, which already operates car charging points in the U.S., the acquisition is a first step into EV fleet charging in the country. Large oil companies are under increasing pressure from investors and consumers to keep pace with the global shift to low-carbon energy. BP plans to boost its number of charging points around the world to more than 70,000 by 2030 from 11,000 today.
Amply provides commercial vehicle operators with charging infrastructure, software and services. The company has raised about $14 million since its founding in 2018, Shao said.
While BP has committed to shedding a large chunk of its hydrocarbon assets, it will continue to grow its traditional retail and forecourt business. The company aims to almost double global earnings from its convenience and mobility division by 2030, from about $5 billion in 2019, and deliver 15% to 20% returns.
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