NEWS - STORY OF THE MONTH
Shell aim to go the distance
on car battery charging
Shell has partnered with top motor manufacturers
to deploy ultra-fast chargers on
Europe’s highways, stealing a march on rivals
in the race to remove one of the biggest
obstacles facing the electric car sector.
Shell’s agreement with IONITY - a joint
venture between BMW, Daimler, Ford and
Volkswagen will initially bring high-powered
docks to 80 highway sites in 2019, it said in
a statement this month. Power giants including
France’s Engie and Germany’s E.ON, as
well as niche players such as U.S. start-up
ChargePoint, are all building vehicle-charging
networks in Europe, but Shell says the
IONITY technology is key to addressing the
problem of journey distances.
While electric vehicles still account for
only a small fraction of the global car market,
the pace of growth and a sustained
period of low crude prices is prompting oil
companies to reassess century-old business
models as the world looks to cleaner
modes of transportation
Under Shell’s most aggressive projections
the company expects the global electric
vehicle fleet to grow from about 1 percent
of the entire auto fleet today to 10 percent
by 2025, displacing oil demand equating
to about 800,000 barrels per day. Rival BP
announced in August that it was talking to
electric car manufacturers on deals to offer
battery recharging docks at its stations.
The number of electric vehicle charging
points in Europe nearly tripled from 2014 to
2017 to reach almost 120,000, according to
the European Alternative Fuels Observatory.
However, manufacturers have struggled
to offer solutions for getting drivers to go
beyond short journeys, mostly within cities,
because of battery limitations, a lack of
charging stations and long charging times.
With the IONITY technology, cars with
advanced charging capacity of up to 350
kilowatts will take as little as five to eight minutes
to charge, Shell said. Currently it can
take several hours to fully charge a regular
electric car which is viewed as a major barrier
when purchasing an electric vehicle.
“Customers want to go on long journeys
in their electric vehicles and feel confident
that there are reliable, comfortable and convenient
places to charge them quickly,” said
Shell’s head of retail Istvan Kapitany.
The 80 charging stations will be deployed
in Belgium, Britain, France, the Netherlands,
Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland,
Slovakia and Slovenia.
With an additional 20 stations expected
to be added in Germany, about a quarter
of Shell’s stations along highways in Europe
will offer high-power electric charging within
two years, Kapitany told Reuters.
Shell will invest in changing power supplies
to its stations to meet growing demand,
he said, declining to disclose the size of the
investment or terms of the IONITY deal.
The IONITY partners joined forces with a
plan to build a pan-European network of 400
charging stations by 2020.
The initiative is the latest in a number of
small Shell investments in charging technology
in recent months, including the acquisition
of Dutch-based NewMotion, owner of
one of Europe’s largest charging networks.
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