LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell ( RDSa.L ) teamed up with major automakers to deploy ultra-fast cargo carriers on European roads, stealing a march on rivals in the race to eliminate one of the biggest obstacles facing the electric car sector.
Agreement of Shell with IONITY – a joint venture between BMW ( BMWG.DE ), Daimler ( DAIGn.DE ), Ford ( FN ) and Volkswagen ( ] VOWG_p.DE ) – will initially bring high power piers to 80 motorway sites in 2019, it said in a statement.
The energy giants, including the French Engie ( ENGIE.PA ) and the German E.ON ( EONGn.DE ), as well as niche players such as new US ChargePoint UU all build vehicle charging networks in Europe, but Shell says that IONITY technology is key to addressing the problem of travel distances.
While electric vehicles still represent only a small fraction of the global automotive market, the pace of growth and a sustained period of low oil prices are driving oil companies to reevaluate century-old business models as the world moves into modes cleaner transport.
According to Shell's most aggressive projections, the company expects the global fleet of electric vehicles to grow from about 1 percent of the entire automatic fleet to 10 percent by 2025, displacing oil demand to approximately 800,000 barrels. per day.
Rival BP ( BP.L ) said in August that it was talking to electric car manufacturers about offers to offer battery charging stations at its stations.
The number of charging points for electric vehicles in Europe almost tripled from 2014 to 2017 to reach almost 120,000, according to the European Observatory of Alternative Fuels.
However, manufacturers have had problems offering solutions for that drivers go beyond short trips, mainly within cities, due to the limitations of the battery, the lack of charging stations and the long loading times.
With IONITY technology, cars with an advanced charging capacity of up to 350 kilowatts will take between five and eight minutes to charge, Shell said. It can take several hours to charge a regular electric car today.
"Customers want to make long trips in their electric vehicles and feel confident that there are reliable, convenient and convenient places to load them quickly," said Shell's retail sales manager, Istvan Kapitany.
The 80 charging stations will be deployed in Belgium, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
With the addition of 20 additional stations in Germany, about a quarter of Shell's stations along roads in Europe will offer high-power electrical load within two years, Kapitany told Reuters.
Shell will invest in changing power supplies to its stations to meet growing demand, he said, and declined to disclose the size of the investment or the terms of the IONITY agreement.
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 several small Shell investments in charging technology in recent months, including the acquisition of NewMotion, based in the Netherlands, owner of one of the largest cargo networks in Europe.
Additional report by Christoph Steitz; David Goodman's edition