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bp invests $60 million in new global EV battery R&D centre in Britain

Image for representation purposes only. Source: bp

British oil and gas major bp plc has revealed its plans to invest up to $60 million(£50 million) in a new state-of-the-art EV battery testing centre and analytical laboratory in Pangbourne, Berkshire, UK.

The new facilities will be open by end of 2024, and will support the technology, engineering and science roles housed at bp's existing global headquarters for its Castrol business in Pangbourne, the company has said.

The facilities are broadly aimed to advance development of engineering, battery technology and fluid technology and engineering into new applications such as electric vehicles, hybrids, charging and data centres, adds bp, thereby bring the industry closer to achieving the key tipping points for mainstream EV adoption.

"We're backing Britain. We're fully committed to the UK's energy transition. This additional investment will help accelerate the transition to EVs by developing solutions to help decarbonize the transport sector.This is another example of our ambitious plans to do more, and go faster," said Louise Kingham, bp's UK head of country.

bp has already announced its intention to invest up to £18 billion in the UK's energy system by the end of 2030.

Michelle Jou, CEO Castrol, commented on the development. "We are committed to supporting the electrification of transport and the take-up of electric vehicles. The growth of EV fluids is a huge opportunity, and we aim to be the market leader in this sector".

Castrol ON's advanced e-fluids manage temperatures within the battery which enables ultra-fast charging and improves efficiency, which help EVs to go further on a single charge and extend the life of the drivetrain system.

"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", Jou noted.

This significant new investment will now allow us to build additional strategic technologies and capabilities to further advance EV fluids for the future, she added. "The facilities will also be an amazing showcase to demonstrate our integrated technology expertise to customers as we help drive the transition to EVs".

In addition, the advanced e-fluid technologies and engineering can be applied to other industries such as thermal management fluids for data centres where demand is rising exponentially. Most of the world's Internet Protocol (IP) traffic goes through data centres, with the number of internet users worldwide doubling and global internet traffic increasing 15-fold, a trend expected to continue over the next decade.

Richard Bartlett, senior vice president, bp pulse, said, "At bp pulse we aim to provide the fastest and most reliable charging experience to our EV customers and continue to invest in our rapid and ultra-fast network globally for passenger cars and trucks. This investment will help us co-develop battery and charger technology and digital solutions with our OEM partners to help EVs go further, charge faster and last longer".

Castrol intends to use the new facilities to continue to work with car manufacturers and suppliers to co-engineer future battery technology and associated thermal management fluids. It will also look to develop future technologies required to help to enable the ultra-fast charging which underpins bp pulse's growth strategy. 

Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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