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BP Invests £50m in New EV Batteries Testing Facility

As part of their ongoing commitment to vehicles of the future, BP has recently announced they are to build a new £50m EV batteries testing facility. Based in Pangbourne, Berkshire, the new facility will be operated under the Castrol brand.

The testing centre will be complemented by an analytical laboratory, dedicated to helping BP develop new products and services that will assist with the electrification of Britain’s roads. An existing facility on the site already researches and develops fuels, lubricants and EV fluids, but the new centre will help to expand capacity with a view to finding new solutions faster.

EV Batteries and Fluids

Castrol is well known for its fuels and lubricants, but EV fluids will be a particular growth market as more electric vehicles appear on public roads. EV batteries produce significant heat during charging, particularly when the vehicle is plugged into a rapid charger.

Onboard battery management systems (BMS) will automatically monitor charge levels and temperature, adjusting voltages to protect EV batteries against overheating. Although essential, this can extend charge times, increasing inconvenience for drivers who must wait longer before their car is ready.

Castrol’s new EV fluids are designed to better manage temperatures within the car’s batteries. The new research centre is intended to develop new, more efficient EV fluids that enable ultra-fast charging, improve battery efficiency and provide additional mileage per charge.

Applications Beyond Electric Vehicles

The race to decarbonise society extends into virtually every industry. Corporate data centres, and those in the cloud, are surprisingly large emitters of greenhouse gases for instance, usually because of the huge cooling systems required for high-performance computer hardware.

BP expect that their EV fluid developments will have applications beyond electric vehicles in future. By replacing traditional HVAC air conditioning systems with a liquid-cooled alternative, data centre operators will be able to reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities. If these fluids are sufficiently efficient, they will also help to improve the overall performance of the computer hardware too.

A proven heritage in EV fluids

BP is already a world leader in providing EV fluids for use in vehicular battery management systems. According to their press office, two-thirds of the world’s major car manufacturers use Castrol ON EV fluids as part of their factory fill process – including the Jaguar TCS Racing Formula E team. This means that the majority of electric cars on the roads today are already using Castrol products in their battery management systems.

The new Pangbourne lab is intended to further strengthen this relationship between BP and car manufacturers. They hope to co-engineer future battery technology and associated thermal management fluids alongside car manufacturers and suppliers using their new, cutting-edge facility. Ultimately they hope to help electric vehicles go further, charge faster and last longer by developing EV fluids and battery management systems that are fully optimised to road conditions and drivers’ needs.

Castrol’s new facility is due to open in 2024 and it may take some time before we see any major developments in EV fluids. However, this is a significant investment that underscores BP’s commitment to decarbonising the world’s roads.

Caltest Instruments Ltd.Caltest Instruments can assist your business with the electrification of transport. From AC and DC power sources, to EV battery testing, and vehicle to grid (V2G).

We are also UKAS-accredited with our calibration laboratory, or may be able to test your systems on-site. Call for a demonstration on  01483 302 700.