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Fast-Charging EV Battery Tech Gets Boost, Weirdly, From British Petroleum

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Last year at about this time, I wrote a story about a technology startup called StoreDot. The company claimed to have developed a battery system that would solve the hairy problems of electric vehicles by offering a charging time of about 5 minutes from empty to full, sourced from a lab rather than some anonymous mine. At the time, after discussing the technology for a bit, I added a caveat—that this was a startup company, and there was no way to know that the batteries would go on to be anything that you would ever see in a car.

However, things are now looking up for the startup, from a rather unlikely source: British Petroleum.

That’s right, BP, whose name literally includes the name of the propulsion source that battery-electric vehicles are trying to steal business from, is investing $20 million in the Tel-Aviv-based developer. In a press release from the petroleum giant on the subject, BP wrote that this investment is part of its vision of a “lower carbon future.”

On the one hand, this seems almost counterintuitive—BP has made its way, after all, in producing petroleum products. However, on the other hand, I think BP is actually making a very smart choice in also investing in fast-charging battery technology, making itself into more than just a gas company.

Downstream chief executive Tufan Erginbilgic summed this approach up pretty well in the press release: “We are committed to be the fuel provider of choice – no matter what car our customers drive.”

StoreDot has said that it expects to start sales of its batteries for mobile devices (which was its first product before car batteries) as early as 2019. It is currently unclear when the electric vehicle technology will be hitting the road.

News Source: BP