Royal Dutch Shell has signed an agreement to buy 100 per cent of ubitricity, a leading European provider of on-street charging for electric vehicles (EVs), to accelerate its move into low-carbon transport. The exact financial terms were not disclosed and the deal is expected to be completed later this year.
The acquisition comes as pressure mounts on the oil company to grow its renewable portfolio. As a result, Shell is investing in more lower-carbon technology. This includes renewables such as wind and solar, new mobility options such as electric vehicle charging and hydrogen and an interconnected power business that will provide electricity to millions of homes, companies and businesses
Commenting on the acquisition, István Kapitány, Executive Vice President of Shell Global Mobility, says, “Working with local authorities, we want to support the growing number of Shell customers who want to switch to an EV by making it as convenient as possible for them. On-street options such as the lamp post charging offered by ubitricity will be key for those who live and work in cities or have limited access to off-street parking. Whether at home, at work, or on-the-go, we want to provide our customers with accessible and affordable EV charging options so they can charge up no matter where they are.”
Largest network in the UK
Founded by Frank Pawlitschek, Knut Hechtfischer, and Lex Hartman, ubitricity (ubiquitous electricity) operates in various European countries and is the largest public EV charging network in the UK with over 2,700 charge points. In the UK, it currently holds a 13 per cent market.
Further, the company is also developing a network of public charging stations in France and Germany. To date, the company has installed over 1,500 private charge points for fleet customers within Europe.
Works with local authority
Based out of Berlin, ubitricity works with local authorities to integrate EV charging into existing street infrastructure such as lamp posts and bollards.
In fact, ubitricity was the first to retrofit the existing lamp posts with in-column charge points. The EV charging points are reduced to the core, the SimpleSockets. These are technically lean and can be operated with almost no running costs, claims the company.
Scaling up EV charging offering
This acquisition will help Shell to scale its overall EV charging offer. This already includes over 1,000 ultra-fast and fast charging points at approximately 430 Shell retail sites plus worldwide access to over 185,000 third-party EV charging points at various public locations. The oil company also aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner.
Lex Hartman, the ubitricity’s CEO, says, “What excites so many people about ubitricity is that our integration of EV charge points into existing on-street infrastructure makes EV charging easy and accessible for everyone who needs it, where they need it. Particularly in larger cities where there is limited access to off-street parking, this is the solution many people have been waiting for to allow them to transition to EV ownership. Combining this piece of the puzzle with Shell’s existing range of EV charging solutions gives EV drivers access to a full range of charging options, making Shell and ubitricity a perfect match.”
Once the transaction is completed, ubitricity will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell. It’s worth mentioning that the EU Commission has already drafted plans to tighten car CO2 limits as part of its 2030 EU climate goal.