Royal Dutch Shell announced last Wednesday it is opening three electric vehicle charging stations with more expected by the end of the year. The three charging stations are in London, Surrey and Derby, with seven more expected by the end of the year. It comes only days after Shell agreed to buy electric vehicle charging firm NewMotion, the owner of one of Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging networks, marking the company’s first deal in electric mobility as demand for cleaner vehicles is expected to soar.
Shell said NewMotion, which manages over 30,000 charging points for electric vehicles in Western Europe and offers access to thousands more, will operate in parallel to Shell’s program of rolling out fast charging points at its forecourts.
“They’re complementary offers. One is fast charging on the go on the forecourt and the other is a slightly slower rate of charge at the workplace or at home. At this stage there are no plans to integrate the two,” Shell’s vice-president for new fuels, Matthew Tipper, told journalists.
"We recognize that the electric vehicle market is growing in the U.K. It's growing very fast," said Jane Lindsay-Green, future fuels manager of Shell U.K., adding that statistics show an increase in electric vehicle registrations. "We recognize that electric vehicles are part of the future of transport in the country and we want to make sure that we offer our customers choice and that they have the option to recharge on one of our forecourts if they want to."
The CEO for Royal Dutch Shell, Ben van Beurden, has said the company is planning for the day when demand for oil starts fading as major economies move away from oil and increasingly turn to electric-powered cars.
Demand for electric vehicles is expected to rise significantly in coming decades and Morgan Stanley estimates that 1-3 million public charging points could be needed in Western Europe by 2030. Currently, there are fewer than 100,000.
Shell expects around a quarter of the world’s car fleet to be electric by 2040.
Shell says the U.K. is the first country in which its recharging service will be available. The company is working with London transport authorities as the city seeks to remove gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles from its streets by 2050. Shell is installing electric vehicle charging points at retail stations in Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and the Philippines.
Oil companies are growing increasingly aware of the potential threat to parts of their downstream business from the electrification of transport.
NewMotion, founded in 2009, operates more than 30,000 private charging points for homes and businesses in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the U.K. It offers access to its own charging points as well as another 50,000 partner locations.
NewMotion had a net turnover of 12.9 million euros ($15.3 million) and made a net loss of 3.9 million euros in 2016, according to its financial statement filed with the Dutch chamber of commerce.