BP invests in mobility app

Oil majors are looking beyond a future in hydrocarbons and investing in mobility infrastructure.

As the global debate over hydrocarbon exploration, fuels and lubricants poses questions for the producers, the majors are seeking opportunities beyond their core business and, in particular, looking at the wider landscape of mobility and transportation.

With added questions over the future of private car ownership, the latest announcement from BP Ventures reveals a 10m investment into a mobile app that bundles city transport services into a single, easy-to-use cloud-based platform. MaaS (Mobility as a Service) Global provides digital mobility software designed to make transport easier and smarter. Its Whim app allows customers to access and connect all available transport in a city – taxis, buses, bikes and rental cars, ride-hailing services, shared e-scooter and e-bikes.

Roy Williamson, vice president Advanced Mobility at BP said: ‘Whim is super convenient. It offers users a single digital key that unlocks the full spectrum of city transport. It takes the hassle out of planning travel, taking on board users’ preferences and connecting and booking their ideal transport choices.’  

The latest deal is against a backdrop of BP and other majors’ drive into low-carbon and renewable energy, electric vehicles and accessible transport systems through single platforms. Amongst the portfolio investments are:

  1. StoreDot – BP's super-fast EV charging
  2. PowerShare - one of China’s leading EV charging platforms with BP investment
  3. Zubie - an open-API fleet management system backed by BP
  4. Greenlots - EV charging system purchased and now launched by Shell
  5. Yoshi - ExxonMobil investment in home-delivery for vehicle gasoline
  6. Natron Energy - battery technology developers supported by Chevron investment

The auto manufacturers are already some way down the mobility road. Hyundai is launching MoceanLab, a new mobility service in Los Angeles which will include autonomous ridesharing, shuttling, multimodal transportation and personal mobility.