Electric car charging points could appear alongside petrol pumps at Shell’s UK service stations as soon as next year, the oil giant confirmed after emails between the company and government officials revealed discussions on introducing them.
The company also asked the government how serious it is about wireless charging roads which could top up an electric car without the need to plug in, as mooted by Conservative MP Oliver Letwin.
The diversification into infrastructure for battery-powered cars would mark a new departure for the company, which has largely backed biofuels as a greener alternative to petrol and diesel in the past.
Emails released after a Freedom of Information request by DeSmogBlog, a site which monitors fossil fuel lobbying, shows that Shell staff and government transport officials discussed both electric cars and hydrogen fuel this year.
In one exchange, a Shell staffer on secondment from the Department for Business writes to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles to suggest electric cars are being held back by a lack of public charging points and the cars’ range, which is typically around 100 miles for many models.
Asked if the emails show Shell is moving into charging points, a spokeswoman said: “We are examining the potential to introduce electric vehicle charging points across some parts of our UK retail network from early 2017 onwards.”
Shell will be going into competition with companies such as Chargemaster, Ecotricity and Tesla, which have all been building out networks of charging points in the UK. According to Zap Map, there are more than 12,000 chargers in the UK.
It is not yet clear how many of Shell’s 1,000-plus service stations will get the chargers, or who will provide the technology. – TheGuardian