Shell joins manufacturer backed pan-European fast-charging point venture
27 November 2017
Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it is to join the vehicle manufacturer-backed Ionity scheme to start installing charging stations across the European Union.
The venture features BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen (VW) Group through its Audi and Porsche brands. The group is based in Munich and is led by CEO Michael Hajesch, with a growing number of employees, set to number 50 by the start of 2018. Ionity aims to make long-distance journeys for EVs easier, increasing charging stations and decreasing the time needed to achieve charge.
The new agreement builds on shell’s acquisition of European EV charging provider NewMotion in October, and can be seen as a move to futureproof the company as car makers move away from oil burning engines and towards low and zero emission mobility.
The points to be installed in partnership with Ionity involve high-powered chargers capable of topping-up an electric car in five to eight minutes, up to three times faster than is currently possible. The Shell sites will form part of a network of 400 fast-charging stations planned by the group by 2020.
A total of 20 stations will be opened to the public this year, located on major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120km, through partnerships with Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV. Through 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 stations, each one enabling multiple customers, driving different manufacturer cars, to charge their vehicles simultaneously.
‘The agreements with these prestigious partners constitute an important initial milestone in our relatively short company history. So in the future, we will be able to offer a large number of fast charging stations at attractive sites along major roads in Europe,’ says Marcus Groll, chief operating officer of Ionity.
‘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,’ István Kapitány, Shell’s global executive vice president of retail, said. ‘Demand for electric vehicle charging on Europe’s major highways is set to grow rapidly. We are pre-empting drivers’ need to charge quickly by becoming one of IONITY’s major partners, giving customers access to the fastest charge points across 10 European countries.’
Shell opened its first rapid-charging point for EVs at gasoline stations in the UK last month. The company wants 20% of profit margins from fuel sold in its retail forecourts to come from vehicles that don't burn diesel or gasoline by 2025.
Each of the vehicle manufacturers involved have an equal share in the partnership, and all hope that the move will allow them to build on their respective EV aspirations as they look to move on from traditional engine vehicles. Diesel’s share of the European market is expected to drop in years to come, while new CO2 targets set by the EU Commission will push car makers to rely heavily on electric technology.