Shell has joined forces with some of the world’s leading car brands such as BMW, Ford, Daimler and the VW Group to roll out a network of fast-charging stations across Europe in a joint venture is called Ionity.
The oil and gas conglomerate has promised to provide high-powered electric charging points across 80 of its busiest motorway service stations in Europe.
Shell’s agreement with Ionity is part of its drive to provide more energy solutions, having recently acquired Europe’s largest charging provider NewMotion. In the UK, Shell has already rolled out a range of fast chargers in fuel stations under the name Shell Recharge.
Ionity CEO Dr. Michael Hajesch said: “Joining forces means combining Shell’s long history and experience in retail with our state-of-the-art technology for fast-charging. It will significantly increase the customer satisfaction of EV drivers.”
Ionity’s fast-charging network in Europe is already under way, and is beginning with the opening of 20 stations across Germany, Norway and Austria. The chargers will be spaced at intervals of 75 miles, which Ionity chiefs say will provide customers with “fast-charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel”.
By early 2018 the group will have installed 50 charging stations – a number that will rise to 100 during the year. By 2020, Ionity has promised 400 charging stations across Europe. There are currently just under 5,000 charging stations in the UK alone.
The Ionity network will offer charging speeds of “up to” 350 kilowatts (kW), allowing owners of electric vehicles the to “significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems.” For comparison, a domestic three-pin plug charges at around 3kW and takes around 12 hours to recharge an electric car, while Tesla’s rapid Supercharger network operates at 120kW and can give a Model S’ batteries an 80 per cent charge in around 40 minutes.
By utilising the same CCS (Combined Charging System) connector throughout Ionity’s charging network, it’s hoped this type of connector will become the industry standard for charging electric vehicles; currently there are at least four different types of connectors used on charging stations.