A £50 million testing centre for electric vehicle (EV) batteries is to be created near Pangbourne in Berkshire.

bp has announced it will set up the new centre, along with an analytical laboratory, at the headquarters of its Castrol business at Whitchurch Hill.

It aims to advance development of engineering, battery and fluid technology and research into new applications including electric vehicles, charging and data centres. bp is seeking to make EVs go further, charge faster and last longer.

The new development is expected to open by the end of 2024. The site already undertakes research and development of fuels, lubricants and EV fluids.

Louise Kingham, bp’s UK head of country, said: “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.”

bp plans says the new centre will help advance the development of fluid technologies and engineering for hybrid and fully battery electric vehicles and it aims to bring the industry closer to achieving the tipping points for mainstream electric vehicle (EV) adoption.
The technologies and engineering may be applied to other industries such as in data centres

Michelle Jou, chief executive of Castrol, said: “We are committed to supporting the electrification of transport and the take-up of electric vehicles. The growth of EV fluids is a huge opportunity, and we aim to be the market leader in this sector. Two thirds of the world’s major car manufacturers use Castrol ON EV fluids as a part of their factory fill and we also supply Castrol ON EV fluids to the Jaguar TCS Racing Formula E team.

“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.”

Image shows how the lobby might look at the new testing centre.

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