(REPOST: The Guardian)

BP will add rapid charging points for electric cars at its UK petrol stations within the next two months, in the latest sign of an oil giant adapting to the dramatic growth of battery-powered cars.

The British oil firm’s venture arm has invested $5m (£3.5m) in the US firm Freewire Technologies, which will provide motorbike-sized charging units at forecourts to top up cars in half an hour.

The move follows a bigger move by BP’s Anglo-Dutch rival Shell, which has been on a buying spree of electric car infrastructure companies and has already opened charging points at its service stations.

While BP would not put a number on how many forecourts would see the chargers, it confirmed the trial would start in the UK during February and March before expanding to European locations later in the year.

Tufan Erginbilgic, the chief executive of BP Downstream, said: “EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”

The oil firm recently returned to solar power with the $200m investment in a solar developer, and is due to announce its first overarching carbon target soon, as it plays catch-up with other oil majors such as Shell.

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