Oil multinational BP is investing US$10 million in a fund aimed at powering the expansion of battery production and R&D for China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) industry.
The oil giant’s investment arm, BP Ventures, is investing in the NIO Capital US Dollar Fund to support work into “new materials including batteries, electric vehicles and related technologies, new energy infrastructure”.
The backing for NIO, a fund manager set up in 2016, marks BP Ventures’ first “material investment” in China, said managing director Akira Kirton.
BP said it wants to be “the leading fuel provider for both conventional and electric vehicles”.
Earlier this year, BP Ventures invested US$20m in lithium-ion-based FlashBattery developer StoreDot.
According to recent figures reported by China’s state Xinhua News Agency, “the cost of running NEV batteries fell in 2017 to an average of CNY1.45 (about US$0.22) per watt-hour (Wh)— 25% lower than 2016”. China assembled 37.35 billion Wh of power batteries for NEVs last year, Xinhua said.