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Reliance-BP Plc joint venture eyes opportunity in EV charging points across petrol pumps


Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has entered into a joint venture(JV) with UK’s petroleum giant BP plc with plans to operate a nationwide network of petrol pumps in India 

The newly formed JV will have a 51% ownership stake by RIL while BP will own the rest, and the duo may roll out Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations on their proposed petrol pumps in India.

RIL which currently has over 1,400 operational pumps in India, will hand over the ownership to the JV and has plans of expanding to over 5,000 energy station in the next 5 years.

Mukesh Ambani’s RIL will be looking to take advantage of the government’s efforts to push EV acceptance in the mainstream market, as the Union Budget announced earlier this year had a gamut of benefits to encourage EV adoption in India.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam had announced an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore working towards the government’s goal of achieving 15% electric vehicle adoption in five years.

Apart from the additional income tax rebate of Rs 1,50,000 to EV buyers, GST rates on both EVs and their chargers/components were reduced to 5%.

RIL would be leveraging its partnership with BP to foray into developing a much-needed EV infrastructure in India as the latter have the experience of operating EV charging stations in its local market (United Kingdom).

BP, a traditional hydrocarbons producing company blitzed into the electric vehicle ecosystem after it acquired UK’s biggest EV charging station operator Chargemasters which runs a 7,000 strong network of EV charging stations across the UK under its brand name Polar.

It provides subscription-based access to these charging stations by providing a smart card with plans costing around £8 per month.

Notably, this move comes on the heels of Ambani’s announcement at RIL’s 42nd annual general meeting on August 12, that the company will sell a 20% stake in its oil and petrochemicals business to Saudi refinery giant Aramco for $15 billion ( around Rs 1 lakh crores).

RIL’s dilution of stake in the traditional petrochemical business and entry into EV infrastructure points towards the diversification of RIL’s businesses as Ambani readies the conglomerate for the future ahead. 

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