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Shell buys UK's biggest electric car charging network

Rachel Millard
·2 min read

Watch: Shell targets electric car charging network through ubitricity deal

Shell has bought the UK’s largest public electric vehicle charge-point owner as it positions itself for a shift away from fossil fuel engines.

The FTSE 100 oil and gas producer is paying an undisclosed sum for Ubitricity, founded in Berlin, Germany, which now has more than 2,700 charge points in the UK, more than 13pc of the market.

Ubitricity installs charge points into street furniture such as lamp posts and bollards, so people can charge when they are away from home or do not have a driveway where they can charge overnight.

It is the latest in a series of investments Shell has made in charging points, having bought European charging network New Motion in 2017.

A vehicle is seen charging at an Ubitricity on-street electric vehicle charging point in London
A vehicle is seen charging at an Ubitricity on-street electric vehicle charging point in London

Shell now also has 1,000 charging points installed at about 430 of its retail sites, and has stepped into household power supply with its purchase of First Utility.

Sales of new pure combustion engine vehicles are to be banned in the UK from 2030, and there is a major push to develop the infrastructure needed to cope with the rise in electric cars.

István Kapitány, executive vice president of Shell Global Mobility, said: "We want to support the growing number of Shell customers who want to switch to an EV by making it as convenient as possible for them.

"On-street options such as the lamp post charging offered by Ubitricity will be key for those who live and work in cities or have limited access to off-street parking.”

Markets Hub - Royal Dutch Shell PLC
Markets Hub - Royal Dutch Shell PLC

Lex Hartman, Ubitricity’s chief executive, said its equipment made "charging easy and accessible for everyone who needs it".

Like other oil majors, Shell is grappling with how to adapt to societies' efforts to cut reliance on fossil fuels.

It is investing in wind power, hydrogen, carbon capture and other low carbon technologies, but is under pressure from some investors and campaigners to go further.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive, will give more details on the company's strategy in February.

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