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Royal Dutch Shell has offered to install 50,000 off-road electric vehicle chargers in the UK within four years, a move that could give the energy group a third of the public charging market by 2025.
Transport is the biggest contributor to UK emissions and the government has pledged to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and wagons from 2030.
But there has been a lot of criticism lately about the lack of charging infrastructure, especially for drivers who do not have access to off-street parking, which is hampering the uptake of electric vehicles.
The Competition and Markets Authority warned in a July report that the launch of public loaders on the streets “Slow and very broken”. The Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts has warned this year that the United Kingdom “Mountain to climb” to achieve its goals of phasing out petrol and diesel.
Shell is planning a rapid expansion through its charging infrastructure business. Ubitrisity, obtained in February, install EV charging points in street furniture such as lamp posts or pullers.
The company said it wanted to promote the charging of street chargers by offering local authorities assistance in financing the installations at a possible cost.
A government scheme aimed at encouraging its roll-out by councils already offers to cover 75 per cent of installation costs, but they have to fund the remaining 25 per cent and were slow to sign up.
David Bunch, the UK chairman of Shell in the UK, said the company ‘wants to provide drivers in the UK with accessible EV charging options so that more drivers can switch to electric’. He is carrying out charging points separately at the filling stations and at other places like supermarkets, he added.
A third of households in England do not have driveways, rising to 68 per cent for those in social housing, according to data from the English Housing Association. The problem is particularly acute in cities and urban areas where 62 percent of households has no driveways.
Shell’s move could raise concerns from the CMA that the market structure could lead to a limited choice of consumers in the provision of electricity on the street. The competition watchdog warned in a July report that ‘local monopolies could arise’ if the market remained ‘unmarked’.
Ubitricity currently has more than 3,600 street loaders in the UK, mainly in cities, making it already the market leader according to Zap-Map, an app that helps drivers track charging points.
Shell’s target, if met, would account for a third of the 150,000 public charging points the Climate Change Committee, the government’s advisory panel, said would be needed by 2025 if the UK were to stay on track for its 2050 target of achieving net zero emissions. There are currently just over 25,500 public charging devices in the UK.
Other oil companies and utilities have also expanded rapidly to the market in recent years. In 2018, BP announced the UK charging network operator Chargemaster while EDF, the French utility industry, last year acquires a majority stake Pod Point.
The company would not put an investment figure on its UK target, but it said in February that, as part of the transition to cleaner energy technologies, it would spend $ 3 billion annually on its global marketing operations, including charging networks for electric vehicles as well as gasoline supplies.
Oswald Clint, an energy analyst at Bernstein, estimates the total cost of 50,000 charging points on the street between $ 150m and $ 250m, based on prices for the relatively “cheap” lampstand, which is probably a large part of the points, of $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 per unit.