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London — BP Ventures has invested $20 million in StoreDot, an Israeli technology company developing an electric vehicle battery with a range of 300 miles and that can charge in five minutes, the oil company said Tuesday.

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StoreDot's goal of a five-minute charge would be game changer for the EV sector, where the fastest charge available today (to 80% charged) is 30-40 minutes for a 40 kW Nissan Leaf vehicle hooked up to a 150 kW charger. The final 20% takes longer.

"BP believes that ultra-fast charging will be key in accelerating the adoption of EVs worldwide," it said.

StoreDot aims to commercialize its "flash" battery technology (initially for mobile phones) as early as 2019, BP said.

The technology "shows real potential for car batteries that can charge in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank," said Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive, BP downstream.

StoreDot's EV battery will use proprietary organic compounds, which it says are "far less flammable and more stable at high temperatures" than traditional Lithium-ion materials.

As its manufacturing process will largely mirror that for standard Li-ion battery production, the cost of StoreDot's EV flash battery would align with the industry's cost reduction curve, it said.

In January BP invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a manufacturer of mobile EV rapid charging systems.

On May 10, BP signed a memorandum of understanding with China's NIO Capital to explore opportunities in advanced mobility, including electric vehicles and batteries.

It has over 70 electric vehicle charge points on its retail sites globally.

Several large oil companies have made initial investments in sustainable transport. In 2017 Shell bought EV charging provider NewMotion and opened its first EV plug in charge points across its retail forecourts.

Statoil Energy Ventures (now Equinor) invested in US EV charging network ChargePoint last year, while Total bought PitPoint BV, a network of 100 natural gas fueling stations with plays in biogas, hydrogen and EV charging. It plans to install EV charge points at its existing service stations to allow recharging every 150 km on French motorways.

Finally, Eni began installing Fast Recharge Plus points on its Italian forecourts in 2015 and has a joint venture with power company ENEL to develop electric mobility infrastructure.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans,
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,