Royal Dutch Shell has partnered with top carmakers to deploy ultra-fast chargers on Europe’s highways, stealing a march on rivals in the race to remove one of the biggest obstacles facing the electric car sector, Reuters reports.
Shell’s agreement with IONITY — a joint venture between BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen — will initially bring high-powered docks to 80 highway sites in 2019, it said in a statement.
Power giants including France’s Engie and Germany’s E.ON, as well as niche players such as US start-up ChargePoint, are all building vehicle-charging networks in Europe, but Shell says the IONITY technology is key to addressing the problem of journey distances.
Under Shell’s most aggressive projections, the company expects the global electric vehicle fleet to grow from about 1 percent of the entire auto fleet today to 10 percent by 2025, displacing oil demand equating to about 800,000 barrels per day.
Rival BP said in August that it was talking to electric car manufacturers on deals to offer battery recharging docks at its stations.
The number of electric vehicle charging points in Europe nearly tripled from 2014 to 2017 to reach almost 120,000, according to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory.
However, manufacturers have struggled to offer solutions for getting drivers to go beyond short journeys, mostly within cities, because of battery limitations, a lack of charging stations and long charging times.
With the IONITY technology, cars with advanced charging capacity of up to 350 kilowatts will take as little as five to eight minutes to charge, Shell said. It can take several hours to charge a regular electric car today.
“Customers want to go on long journeys in their electric vehicles and feel confident that there are reliable, comfortable and convenient places to charge them quickly,” said Shell’s head of retail Istvan Kapitany.
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