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Shell to Start Installing EV Charging Hubs at Fuel Stations

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【Summary】During this period, it will slowly add level 3 DC fast-chargers to its 25,000 branded gas stations worldwide. This specific type of technology can charge a vehicle up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

Michael Cheng    Feb 06, 2017 6:00 AM PT
Shell to Start Installing EV Charging Hubs at Fuel Stations

With oil prices still at an all-time low, some businesses that are heavily invested in the sector are looking for new ways to increase earnings. Out of all the fuel companies in the industry, Royal Dutch Shell (also known as Shell) seems to not be shy about possibly offering something completely new to the table: electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Many analysts see the move as desperate, as other fuel brands have not made a firm commitment to cater to non-fuel dependent cars. However, it is likely that Shell simply wants to be one of the first fuel companies to profit from the rise of EVs. Tesla, one of its competitors in the emerging EV space, is already miles ahead in building charging stations at fuel pumps. The EV giant is collaborating with Sheetz gas stations to help expand its Supercharger footprint.

Level 3 DC Fast-chargers

Shell's elaborate plan to deploy EV chargers is expected to come to fruition in the next 10 years, starting with Britain and the Netherlands. During this period, it will slowly add level 3 DC fast-chargers to its 25,000 branded gas stations worldwide. This specific type of technology can charge a vehicle up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. That's considered to be fast for the EV market, but it's not faster than pumping traditional fuel, which takes roughly five minutes per tank.

"Hydrogen, electric vehicles and biofuels will all have their place," John Abbott, director of downstream business for Shell, told The Financial Times.

The main issue with the charging station is that customers will be forced to hang around the area while waiting for their car battery to charge. If you've ever been to a gas station, you'll know that there's not a lot of things to do there. One could have coffee or read a book, but such activities would be considered unproductive – since busy people usually have their coffee while on the way to their destination. This is why EV owners prefer charging stations near grocery stores or malls.

Huge EV Infrastructural Investments

For individuals following Shell's expansion projects, it is clear that the company is moving towards greener investments. Some view the new projects as nascent stages to converting gas stations to EV stations. Other businesses that are making similar investments is French multinational company Total. In 2016, the company announced a whopping $300 million investment in solar infrastructure with 200 MW capacity in 5,000 gas stations worldwide.

Compared to Shell's efforts, Total's approach is considered to be more sustainable, as it intends to generate electricity using solar panels instead of the grid.

"The project is fully aligned with Total's ambition of becoming the responsible energy major and its commitment to developing solar power. It will reduce our carbon emissions by 100,000 tons per year and cut our electricity bill by $40 million per year. The panels will be supplied by our affiliate SunPower, which offers the world's most efficient solar technology," said Philippe Sauquet, President of Gas, Renewables & Power at Total.

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