AGL Energy and global giant BP have partnered to offer electric-vehicle drivers discounted charging, as the duo look to capitalise on soaring demand for zero emission cars.

EV sales are growing quickly in Australia as customers are provided incentives with new tax breaks, but the trend is expected to increase demand from homes for electricity and uproot the country’s traditional petrol refilling infrastructure.

In a move that positions both to profit from the increased number of EVs on the road, AGL will roll out a refreshed tariff plan for owners of zero emission cars that will be discounted against the ­default market offer, and these customers will also receive discounts if they use a BP pulse service station.

AGL chief customer officer Jo Egan said the partnership was part of the company’s commitment to incentivising demand for electric vehicles.

“The agreement recognises the pivotal role we play in shaping Australia’s future,” Ms Egan said. “As we transition to a low-carbon future, this agreement will empower our customers with innovative, sustainable and cost-effective EV charging solutions.”

The deal is a boost to BP pulse, which faces growing competition for a market in a state of flux.

Under the terms of the deal, should an AGL customer on the EV plan need to charge away from their home, they will receive a discount of more than 10 per cent when they use one of BP pulse’s charging stations.

The plan is initially just for customers in NSW, but AGL expects to extend the rollout nationally as demand for EVs grows.

Frederic Baudry, president of BP Australia and senior vice-president of mobility convenience, and midstream, Asia-Pacific, said the deal would ease driver anxiety over range.

“It is a prime example of BP’s global commitment to provide customers and partners with the energy and mobility they want, where they want it,” Mr Baudry said. “We are all taking part in the journey towards decarbonisation, and it’s through projects like this with AGL that we hope to encourage uptake and break down the barriers for people considering an EV.”

The deal will incentivise AGL customers to use BP pulse’s infrastructure, giving them an advantage over other traditional petrol stations, which are also grappling with how to position for the rise of electric vehicles.

Demand for EVs is widely expected to grow, from about 8 per cent of all new sales currently, but there is lingering uncertainty about whether consumers will charge at home, voiding any need for traditional-style petrol stations, or will prefer superfast charging at sites that were once entirely petrol bowsers.

There will still be demand from drivers that are on longer journeys and from those who live in apartments and do not have access to charging infrastructure, but the market is likely to be smaller especially if EV owners can use their rooftop solar free of charge.

Competition for on-the-road charging infrastructure is also going to be strong as traditional players move quickly in a bid to position themselves for the rise of EVs.

With intense competition, major players such as Viva Energy are expanding convenience offerings, hoping to lure customers to charge their vehicles while eating or shopping.

Extracted in full from: AGL, BP plug in to ride electric vehicle boom | The Australian