Shell have been making noises about installing EV fast chargers at their service stations in the UK for some time now. I wondered when those noises were going to translate into actual chargers. I often glance at Shell service stations when driving by, just to see if there is anything there yet. They have finally announced that chargers are to be installed at 10 service areas. These are — nine around the London area and one in Derby, in the UK’s Midlands area.
Excerpts from their press release are as follows —
Today (18 October, 2017) Shell opened its first electric vehicle (EV) charging points at three UK forecourts (in London, Surrey and Derby). The service, called Shell Recharge, can charge most electric vehicles in around 30 minutes.
The launch follows Shell’s recent agreement to buy NewMotion, one of Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging providers. Both initiatives will help Shell to test and develop the full raft of electric vehicle charging solutions for customers at home, at work and on the go.
Shell UK Country Chair Sinead Lynch said: “We’re delighted to offer rapid electric charging on the forecourt for the first time. Shell Recharge will provide EV drivers in these areas with a convenient and subscription-free charging service. Our aim is to have recharging points at ten forecourts by the end of the year.
“More broadly, today’s opening is part of our wider commitment to help deliver a low-carbon UK, by offering drivers a range of fuels as new technologies evolve to co-exist with traditional transport fuels.”
About Shell Recharge
Shell Recharge is the name of Shell’s new rapid Electric Vehicle charging service. Our Rapid 50kW DC chargers are compatible with most Electric Vehicles, and will charge most cars from zero-80% in approximately 30 minutes.
Customers pay for Shell Recharge simply and quickly by using the Smoov app, a subscription-free mobile payment system. There are no subscription or connection fees; customers only pay for the power used to recharge their car. Until the 30th of June 2018, Shell is offering an introductory offer – just 25p per kWh vs. the normal price of 49p per kWh.
While waiting for their vehicle to charge, customers can take advantage of Shell’s retail offering including Costa Coffee and Shell’s own Deli2Go range. Shell stations also offer free Wifi, allowing customers to catch up on emails and news while they wait for their car to charge.
By the end of 2017, Shell Recharge will be operational at Shell Addlestone (Surrey), Shell Blendon (Kent), Shell Burgh Heath (Surrey), Shell Derby, Shell Fairfield (Reading), Shell Holloway (London), Shell Ickenham (London), Shell Stirling Corner (Hertfordshire), Shell West Drayton (London) and Shell Whyteleafe (Surrey). Shell Recharge will also soon launch in the Netherlands.
The location of the first ten sites have been chosen because of their proximity to main driving routes, and where there is an opportunity to reach more EV drivers.
So, how does £0.49 per kWh compare with other suppliers? 20 kWh, enough to charge up a Nissan Leaf, would cost £9.80p ($12.94). For comparison, Ecotricity charge £0.17 per kWh ($0.23), plus a £3 ($3.96) connection charge for people who are not Ecotricity domestic customers. So, 20 kWh on an Ecotricity charger would cost £3 (connection charge) and £3.40, at a total of £6.40 ($8.49). This is £3.40 ($4.25) cheaper, making the Shell offering somewhat uncompetitive.
Ecotricity also invests 65% of their income into renewable energy sources. This is a plus point for them. Becoming one of their domestic electricity customers is a good way of putting money into renewable energy, via your bills. For someone who is a domestic customer of Ecotricity, and, therefore, not being required to pay the £3 connection charge, the cost of 20 kWh would only be £3.40 ($4.25). This is £6.40 ($8.49) cheaper than the shell offering. For smaller amounts of charging, such as 10 kWh, which would cost £4.90 ($6.47) with Shell and £4.70 ($6.20) with Ecotricity, they are much closer.
Pricing is not as important as actually having chargers available. I am sure people will be grateful, if they’re running short of battery power, for any available charger, even if a little more expensive. Eventually, prices might come down as there are more chargers rolled out across the country, and more competition.
New EV chargers are always welcome. My only reservation is, this means yet an additional layer of payment methods, and means of access. Just about everything else that is for sale I can buy with a credit card, debit card, cash, or PayPal. It seems a pity that I can’t use the same systems to pay for my EV charging. Even on the London Underground one no longer needs a ticket and can simply use a credit card as if it was a ticket. I think this is one area where the government should have become involved quite a while ago, to try and standardise access to chargers. Left to itself, with so many diverse systems and suppliers, the market can only become more and more fragmented, and therefore, complicated and inconvenient for EV drivers.