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Berkshire to home BP-backed EV battery research facility

Berkshire battery
Image credit: BP

BP has announced it will invest up to £50m in an electric vehicle (EV) battery research and development facility in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

Research at the Berkshire facility will focus on engineering, battery technology and fluid technology. It will contain an analytical lab.

“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 decarbonise the transport sector. This is another example of our ambitious plans to do more, and go faster,” said Louise Kingham, UK head of country, BP.

While the research is focused on improving EV battery technology, it will also explore how it can be used in power-hungry data centres.

Based at BP’s headquarters for its Castrol division, it is scheduled to be ready before the end of 2024. Castrol already carries out R&D of fuel, lubricants and EV fluids at the Pangbourne location.

The investment comes as part of BP’s wider strategy, revealed in May, to invest £18bn into the UK energy sector before 2030.

Michelle Jou, CEO, Castrol said: “This significant new investment will now allow us to build additional strategic technologies and capabilities to further advance EV fluids for the future. The facilities will also be an amazing showcase to demonstrate our integrated technology expertise to customers as we help drive the transition to EVs.”

BP is not the only oil company looking to branch into renewable technology. Shell revealed earlier this year its plans to invest up to £25bn into UK energy – a move that was met with apprehension by UK clean tech startups.

Battery development in the UK has seen a recent surge of activity. On Friday, AMTE Power revealed its building of a battery “megafactory” in Dundee while Nyobolt raised £50m for its first material manufacturing plant in the UK.