Shell Oil is catching on to the electric vehicle trend more so than most oil companies—and, instead of ignoring the fact that the number of battery-operated cars on the road are continuing to rise, the gas mogul is shifting its location model to accommodate those vehicles that are powered by energy other than fossil fuels, according to Electrek, a news blog that covers energy-efficient vehicles. Rather than becoming not much more than a simple convenience store in the future when gas-powered automobiles ebb in the marketplace, Shell is positioning itself as a power-player in the increasingly EV-centric world we’re moving toward.
The oil company announced earlier in 2017 that they would begin installing EV charging stations at select gas stations in Britain and the Netherlands later this year. They will be deploying DC Fast Chargers, however, the stations are limited to 50 kW. (For reference, Tesla’s Superchargers are able to charge at a rate of 120 kW, and Porsche even introduced 350 kW chargers to the market recently.)
Even so, the DC Fast Charge stations will be more beneficial, and faster, than Level 2 charging stations generally found in residences and workplace, which can take upwards of eight hours, on average, to fully charge a completely depleted EV battery.
Shell has not announced how many locations will install charging stations, but the company claims more than 25,000 Shell gas stations around the world, meaning their movement toward inclusivity of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a powerful nod toward the future of personal transportation. Their choice to install charging stations at even a sampling of their gas stations curates an important influence among Shell’s peers in the oil and gas field.
Gas stations in North America, including Shells located on U.S. soil, should take note of what Shell is doing at its gas stations in the Netherlands and Britain. Some already have, as Tesla has begun installing their Superchargers at QuickCheck gas stations in the U.S., plus other locations near gas stations for easy access to charge for Tesla drivers.
There has been a steady momentum in EV sales in North America, with a 32% compound annual growth rate over the past five years, according to Forbes. That climb points to the need for more infrastructure, including DC Fast Chargers and Level 2 at workplaces and destinations to support EV drivers in need of convenient and fast charging.
Worldwide, the growth has been even more significant. Global EV sales since 2014 have more than doubled, according to Forbes, and, after a 72% increase in 2015, there has been a 41% jump in sales in 2016.
Ultimately, over time, this rapid growth will supplant the oil industry. Those gas stations that shift to a forward-thinking and growth mindset by installing charging stations won’t be left in the dust.