Oil giant Shell has converted its Fulham petrol station in West London into a dedicated electric vehicle charging hub as part of a pilot scheme, which is the first of its kind globally for the company.
It has stripped the site entirely of its petrol and diesel pumps and replaced them with nine ‘high-powered’ ultra-rapid 175kW devices, which can charge the latest models to 80 per cent battery capacity with 10 minutes – around three times faster than conventional 50kW rapid chargers across the country.
Officially opened this week, the cost to charge a vehicle is 49p per kWh, with the hub powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and EV drivers restricted to a maximum one hour stay to ensure there is a good level of device availability.
EV owners waiting for their battery packs to be replenished can take advantage of the location’s all-new comfortable seating area, which offers free Wi-Fi to customers.
The Fulham site also has a new Costa Coffee cafe installed inside as well as a Little Waitrose & Partners grocery section.
The charging hub’s structure is also in-line with Shell’s sustainable strategy, with a canopy built from sheets of timber and houses solar panels that contribute to powering the site.
The shop is also constructed using glass double glazing with ‘high insulating properties’ to ensure it is heated efficiently.
With the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars on the horizon and demand for EVs already booming, traditional fuel retailers operated by the massive oil firms face the reality of needing to shift the application of some of their filling stations – especially those in urban areas where take up of electric cars is expected to accelerate fastest.
This will likely mean either modifying existing fuel stations into charging hubs or decommissioning the area entirely to make land available for buildings or other structures.
Shell currently has EV charging facilities at over 100 of its fuel forecourts across the country, though the Fulham location is the first to be exclusive to electric car owners rather than being in addition to petrol and diesel pumps.
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The company announced last year plans to install 50,000 on-street chargers by 2025 through its subsidiary Ubitricity, and aims to put 800 EV points in car parks at around 100 branches of Waitrose in the next three years.
István Kapitány, Shell’s global executive vice president for mobility, said: ‘EV drivers are looking for a charging experience that is as fast, convenient and comfortable as possible. This is exactly what Shell Fulham aims to offer.
‘It joins our growing network of Shell Recharge sites at forecourts and other locations, our Ubitricity on-street charging network, and our Shell Recharge Solutions for homes and businesses as we increasingly help EV drivers to charge wherever they need it. It also gives us all a glimpse into the future of mobility.’
The 49p per kWh cost to plug in at the Fulham hub is on par with rival ultra-rapid public charging providers, such as BP Pulse (50p per kWh for contactless use of its 150kWh devices without subscription).
Shell says the devices are exclusively pay-as-you-go with no connection charges or subscription costs, and customers can use contactless payments.
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: ‘It’s fantastic to see Shell leading the way with their brand-new charging hub, offering EV drivers an easy and rapid charging experience.
‘With more people making the switch to EVs than ever before, this is exactly the type of facility we need to help make the transition as simple as possible for drivers up and down the country.
‘This Government has committed £2.5bn to vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the switch to EVs.
‘In addition to Government efforts, it is equally encouraging to see businesses support the EV transition – and Shell’s new hub is a brilliant example of the UK’s huge effort to go-green and reach our important net-zero targets.’
With more than 130 full or hybrid electric vehicle models now available to buyers, EV sales in the UK are accelerating rapidly.
In December 2021, 27,705 EVs were sold – over 9,000 of them Tesla Model 3s – making up more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all new registrations that month.
‘For sales and utilisation of EVs to continue accelerating, investment in charging infrastructure will likewise need to grow apace,’ Shell said.