Energy giant Shell is exploring the possibility of adding electric vehicle (EV) charging points to its forecourts in a number of countries.
The Shell brand is traditionally associated with fuel, engine oils and lubricants and service stations in South Africa.
“As electric vehicles take off, so too will the number of charging points that Shell provides across our global retail network,” says the company in response to questions from Engineering News.
Shell is currently introducing electric charging points at forecourts in the UK.
“The first one is due soon, with ten planned by the end of the year and more to follow. We are also introducing fast charging at forecourts in the Netherlands,” notes the company.
Shell says it is also offering customers more efficient charging by means of the so-called ‘smart charging technology’. This technology helps to integrate EVs into the power grid at times when overall demand is at its lowest, helping balance the grid.
“It is very clear to me that, as we go from one-billion cars today to two-billion cars in 2040, we are going to need all forms of transportation, whether driven by petrol, diesel, electric [power], hydrogen, biofuels or something else. It is Shell’s intent to participate in all of those value chains.” says Shell downstream director John Abbott.
Shell believes, however, that the rapid conversion of today’s one-billion passenger car parc to EVs would be “severely limited” by a lack of batteries and materials, such as lithium, required to manufacture them.
“Shell is committed to its future fuels strategy and is well positioned to play a leading role in the decarbonisation of transport,” adds the company.
“We aim to produce both more and cleaner energy – be it by enhancing the performance and efficiency of our petrol and diesel, or by supporting the development of alternative, low-emission fuels such as hydrogen, electric [power], biofuels and liquid natural gas.
“Different types of vehicles and journeys have different requirements. Shell is developing alternative fuels and is assessing a range of energy sources to continue serving the needs of our customers, whatever they choose to drive. For example, battery EVs may be right for some markets and hydrogen better for others.”
Shell says there are two-million EVs on the road globally. By 2040, the International Energy Association believes there will be two-billion cars on the road, with 150-million of them EVs.
Shell to Test South African Market
In South Africa, Shell believes that demand for EVs is still in its formative stages, with few vehicle manufacturers offering this technology locally.
“Whilst this is the case, we will, together with our partners, be looking to test the market over the coming years. We will be developing a business model within the context of a regulated fuels environment and high electricity prices.”
The company did not want to elaborate any further on its strategy for the South African market.