As EV popularity increases, oil firms look to install chargers at gas stations

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Oil giant BP could be one of the first major gas station providers to court electric car owners.

The British multinational, which recorded revenues of $183 billion in 2016, is in talks with automakers manufacturing electric cars about installing chargers at gas stations.

“We have discussions going on with a lot of the EV manufacturers to have a tie-up with our retail network for charging,” BP CEO Bob Dudley told Reuters in a recent interview.

It’s not clear which automakers BP is in talks with. So far, Tesla has been the only automaker manufacturing electric cars to make a serious attempt at installing charging infrastructure. It already offers hundreds of its Supercharging stations across the United States, Europe and other regions.

Dutch rival Shell has been a bit progressive compared to BP, as it’s already got some chargers at gas stations in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

According to BP’s own estimates, there will be 100 million electric cars in use by 2035, up from 1.2 million in 2015. But there will likely be an even higher number of plug-in hybrids in use by that date, and these too have the potential to make a serious impact on the bottom line of oil companies. Considering most people drive very few miles on average per day, plug-in hybrid owners will likely use very little oil. Even today's plug-in hybrids offer at least 50 miles of range on a single charge.

Oil giants are also looking at renewables such as solar and wind, though so far they’ve had little success. According to Dudley, BP is looking at the possibility of converting solar energy into a synthetic natural gas via the C02-consuming process of methanation. Audi is already doing this but using wind energy.

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