Electric vehicle charging company InstaVolt has described BP's plans to install electric vehicle chargers as the 'penny drop moment' for EVs.

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley told Reuters this week that BP is planning to install fast charge points at its UK petrol stations. "We have discussions going on with a lot of the EV manufacturers to have a tie-up with our retail network for charging," Dudley said.

Tim Payne, CEO of InstaVolt, says: "If we were waiting for a big 'penny drop' moment then this is it. When one of the world's biggest oil companies announces it's embracing electric vehicle technology, you know that's the future for our roads.

"With BP and Shell both backing EVs, it's clear that the revolution is happening now. It's important that smaller and independent forecourt owners follow suit swiftly and climb on board. When you combine this latest news from BP with the Government's plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK from 2040 it's quite clear the direction in which we're headed."

Payne also points out that off-street parking limitations also need to be borne in mind. "Around a third of [UK] households don't have off-street parking, which means the electric vehicle industry needs to be focused on public, rather than home charging. Forecourts will play a huge role in that, being perfectly placed to house rapid charging units where people can charge up quickly en route."

He adds that technology needs to adapt to give drivers the fastest possible charging. "Drivers wouldn't stand for it if they had to spend three hours topping up their car with petrol with a pipet. It's exactly the same with EVs. That's why we've partnered with US firm ChargePoint to bring brand-new chargers to the UK that can give 80 per cent charge in just 20-30 minutes. The units can be updated as battery capacity grows, making them future-proofed."

Analysts say the oil companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need to address alternative energy sources besides fossil fuels and are increasing their interests in renewable energy production such as solar and wind, but without an obvious strategy. "We'll be ready for this world but we're not going to dive in too deeply," Dudley told Reuters. BP will make investments in future technologies but these will be small percentage stakes in companies or partnering with them, he said.