Kicking off our second edition of our Current± Asks the Experts series, we talked to Euan Moir, UK & Nordics regional manager for Shell Recharge Solutions Europe about the need for a holistic approach to the rollout of EV charging, taking advantage of software to tackle the remaining challenges, such as the disparity between those with off street parking and those without.
How will combining NewMotion and Greenlots under one single brand benefit Shell Recharge Solutions activities going forwards?
Combining NewMotion and Greenlots under the Shell Recharge Solutions brand means we’re now offering a global portfolio of charging solutions. It allows us to cater to the increasing demand of electric vehicles(EVs) for UK businesses and meet the needs of our customers with an end-to-end experience. Given that Shell is an established brand, and we already work with a number of large fleets, whether it’s charging at home or on-the-go, businesses know they can rely on Shell Recharge Solutions to deliver.
The EV industry has recently seen unprecedented growth, with figures suggesting that more than a fifth of new car registrations in the first half of 2022 were EVs. In fact, 14.4% of all registrations were for pure battery electric vehicles (BEV) with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) accounting for 6.4% of the UK market. This growth brings with it an increased demand for charging infrastructure, and our combined offering to the industry is helping to improve accessibility for all, ultimately drive EV adoption.
The partnership will allow the combined organisation to expand its product offering and services to meet the rapidly increasing demand of the industry. More than anything, EV drivers are looking for a seamless driving experience. At Shell Recharge Solutions, we’re working to streamline the experience for drivers through our global ecosystem of charging solutions.
How important is it that charge points form part of a wider clean energy ecosystem?
It is absolutely essential that charge points form part of a wider clean energy ecosystem, to both the wider industry and the end users.
Shell Recharge Solutions’ global portfolio of charging infrastructure will help to meet the needs of EV drivers and businesses, especially when it comes to their transition to zero-emission transport goals. Our scalable solutions not only provide the latest software and hardware, but also additional services such as consultancy and customer care, from installation to maintenance.
We’re also currently piloting vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. This allows users to utilise the stored energy in vehicle batteries by enabling two-way transmission of power between the battery and the charge point. An application of this can be seen in national power networks which are heavily reliant on renewable energy. Here, large scale V2X implementation will enable the option of using small amounts of power from many vehicles across the country to help meet demand on the grid at times when variable wind and solar supply falls short.
This technology also has local applications. For example, V2X will allow power to be supplied back to homes during periods of high electricity costs (as a method of saving money), or even acting as distributed backup power for commercial buildings. This can support companies and individuals to manage their electricity usage, in addition to implementing renewable energy to support vehicle charging, which will significantly contribute to the wider clean energy ecosystem.
How important is using software and apps to ensure easy charging for drivers?
Availability of charge points is currently one of the biggest obstacles to the EV driving experience and this needs to be anticipated by the wider industry. In fact, our recent EV Driver Survey (EVDS) found that over half of EV drivers (55%) are concerned about the lack of charging infrastructure accessibility. We think user-friendly and easily accessible software and apps for EV drivers could be key to easing this process. For example, almost 60% of respondents believe that smart charging is a good way to encourage more people to drive EVs.
Not only that, but there’s an appetite for innovation in payments – 24% are interested in contactless payments, and 31% in plug & charge technology. EV drivers are also keen for consistency when it comes to charging cards. The survey found that over half of EV drivers now carry four or more cards to access public charging infrastructure, an increase of 21% from last year, which can hinder accessibility and ease of use of charge points.
Ultimately, staying on top of the latest EV software and technology, especially when it comes to charging points and payments is absolutely essential for improving convenience and the overall user experience. This is one of the key factors in mass adoption and continued growth in the industry.
What’s next for Shell Recharge Solutions?
Overall, we’re continuing to support Shell’s wider ambitions for e-mobility. Globally, Shell aims to operate 2.5 million EV charge points by 2030 – this is part of a broader target to be a net zero emissions energy business by 2050. Similarly by 2030,Shell UK aims to have 100,000 public EV charge points across the country, 11,000 of these being rapid chargers, meaning that 90% of all UK drivers will be within a 10-minute drive of a Shell rapid charger.
To reach these targets and make the EV driving experience accessible for everyone, we need to understand and meet the needs of an expanded audience base. To get there, we’re focusing on several different areas. For example, we’re working to reduce the currently large disparity, both in cost and convenience, between the EV drivers with and without access to a private charging point. Our survey found that 77% of those who had private parking also had a personal charge point – this was compared to 28% of those without private parking having access to a personal charge point. The findings are mirrored in other report as currently there are only a limited number of solutions offered to those in apartment blocks.
We understand the challenges customers without access to private charging points are facing. To help combat this, not only are we working on new solutions for infrastructure that is currently difficult to provide for, but we’re also focusing heavily on on-the-go roaming networks. We want both businesses and individuals to feel confident and comfortable in their switch to EVs.
Interoperability is another big focus for us as, according to our EVDS, approximately two in five EV drivers have reported facing challenges accessing charge points. Therefore, moving forward we’re looking to improve interoperability to provide even better network coverage in the UK and across Europe. Roaming partnerships are key here, as they will enable drivers to access a larger charging network using just one card. For example, Shell Recharge Solutions’ customers can access approximately 12,000 charge points, a third of the UK total, with access to over 300,000 in Europe. While that number continues to grow, Shell Recharge Solutions recognises that collaboration is at the heart of increasing charger availability for all EV drivers, across both public networks and private infrastructure.