BP has announced plans to invest up to £50 million (around $60 million) into a new testing center for EV batteries and an analytical laboratory. Scheduled to open in 2024, the energy company’s new facilities will be located at the global headquarters of its Castrol subsidiary in Pangbourne – a village in Berkshire, England. Today, the site conducts research and development projects around key battery areas – including fuels, lubricants, and EV fluids. The announcement comes as part of a previously announced commitment from BP to invest up to £18 billion ($21.9 billion) in the UK’s energy system through 2030. 

Supporting Castrol’s existing technology, engineering, and science roles – the testing center and laboratory will work to advance both the development of fluid technologies and engineering for hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. The core aim of these activities, and the investment going into them, is to encourage and accelerate the mainstream adoption of EVs. 

For Castrol, the facilities will support the advancement of its proprietary ON EV fluids, which help manage battery temperatures – enabling heightened efficiency and enhanced charging capabilities as a result. This would allow EVs utilizing the fluids to benefit from an extended driving range on a single charge while providing their drivetrain systems with a longer lifespan. The subsidiary also intends to utilize the facilities to form new partnerships with OEMs and suppliers to co-engineer new battery technologies, and their associated thermal management fluids, while investigating the future technologies needed to enable ultra-fast charging. 

In extending the functionality of these facilities even further, BP has said that the advanced e-fluid technologies and engineering practices developed at the testing center and laboratory can be applied to other industries. Here, thermal management fluids developed by the company can be supplied to data centers to assist their operations in times of peak demand.  

Ultimately, BP expects its new facilities will help accelerate the achievement of its electrification goals. One of these will see the company increase its renewable energy output to 50 GW by the end of the decade, securing collaborations across Europe to do so. The most recent collaboration announced as part of the plan was with Iberdrola, through which BP will establish and operate a charging network consisting of 11,000 charging stations spread across Spain and Portugal.