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Electric car charging stations destined for Shell service stations

By raccars Published


Shell emails suggest electric car charging stations could be in place on forecourts by next year.

Shell has said that it is looking at the potential of offering electric car charging stations in some areas of the UK from early next year.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that emails had been exchanged between Shell and UK Government officials discussing the possibility of introducing electric car points at UK service stations. The oil giant has since confirmed that charging stations could sit alongside petrol pumps from next year.

Government talks over electric car future

Shell had discussed the potential of having electric car points at its service stations and has also asked how serious the Government was about the prospect of wireless charging roads. This idea had been mooted by Oliver Letwin, the conservative MP, and would allow electric cars to be topped up without the need to plug them into a charging station.

Shell is renowned for backing biofuels as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel and petrol but these talks could mark the start of a diversification involving the provision of infrastructure to meet the needs of the electric car generations of the present and the future. Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla, has previously accused the petrol industry of deliberately spreading misinformation about electric cars. But Shell’s announcement could indicate that diversification and acceptance is on the cards - for some businesses at least.

Hydrogen fuel and electric cars discussed

The Freedom of Information request from DeSmogBlog, which tracks fossil fuel lobbying, revealed that Shell staff and transport officials talked about both hydrogen fuel and the electric car trend this year.

One exchange reveals a Shell staffer’s concern that electric cars were being restricted by the lack of charging points, and by the range of the cars which currently averages around 100 miles with many models. The staffer was on a Department for Business secondment and was writing to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The staffer also talked about the link between ‘range anxiety’ and the availability of fast-charging stations for public use. A later exchange saw a Shell employee asking for information about the regulations affecting operators of electric car charging points. The employee wanted to know if Shell would need a supply license if it were to offer an electric charging service.

Shell also requested information about the notion of British wireless charging roads, asking if the idea ‘has legs’ and wanting to know the level of ambition within the Government in relation to the idea.

Shell confirms charging point potential

In response to news of the emails, a Shell spokesperson confirmed that the company was looking at the potential of introducing electric car charging points in some areas of the its retail network in the UK from early next year. This move would see Shell entering a market where companies such as Ecotricity, Chargemaster and Tesla currently dominate. It is believed that there are already in excess of 12,000 charging points available in Britain.

Chargemaster owns over 4,000 of these points and David Martell, the company’s CEO, has welcomed news that Shell looks set to enter the market in 2017. He said it was ‘great’ that companies such as Shell wanted some of ‘the action’. He added that Chargemaster was currently talking with a number of different fuel companies about installing charging points and the company expects that the first will be installed over the next 12 months.

Figures suggest that there were 20,000 totally electric vehicles on British roads by the end of 2015 and Nissan recently announced that it has sold 15,000 of the electric Leaf since it was launched in 2011.

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