Shell Buys UK’s Top EV Charging Network

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By Tsvetana Paraskova

Shell is buying ubitricity, the European provider of on-street charging for electric vehicles (EVs) that has the largest public EV charging network in the UK, the supermajor said on Monday.

The expansion of Shell’s EV charging offering is part of the oil major’s support for low-carbon transport by offering electric vehicle drivers public on-street charge points integrated into existing street infrastructure, the company said.

That’s not the first deal for Shell in the EV charging business. As early as 2017, Shell signed a deal to buy one of Europe’s biggest EVs charging networks, Netherlands-based NewMotion. Shell has also partnered with a consortium involving some of Europe’s largest carmakers to build a network of EV fast-charging stations across the continent.

The acquisition of ubitricity, founded in Berlin, is the first major EV charging deal since Shell announced in April 2020 its ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 at the latest, joining other majors such as BP and Eni in unveiling plans to curb carbon emissions.

The transaction, for which Shell did not disclose a purchase price, is expected to be completed later in 2021, subject to regulatory clearance.

The ubitricity deal will give the supermajor 100 percent in the largest public EV charging network in the UK with over 2,700 charge points, with a 13.1 percent market share in the UK as of the end of January, according to Zap-Map data.

The second-largest EV charging network is that of bp pulse, with a 12-percent share in the UK. bp pulse was named as the UK’s fastest-growing and most used public network in 2020, by Zap-Map.

Shell and BP will thus be the main competitors on the UK’s EV charging network market. Both companies have supported the UK’s ban of the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans, which Britain adopted last year and banned those sales from 2030.

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