Shell acquires EV-infrastructure provider ubitricity

26 January 2021

26 January 2021

Electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) infrastructure developer ubitricity has been acquired by Shell, in the latest example of oil companies looking to expand their horizons beyond traditional automotive fuels.

Based in Berlin, Germany, ubitricity provides on-street charging solutions for EV owners. The company operates across Europe, with 1,500 private charge points installed for fleet customers. According to data from EV-mapping provider Zap-Map, the business is the UK’s largest infrastructure provider, with 2,700 charge points, representing a 13% market share.

Shell will acquire 100% of ubitricity, subject to regulatory clearance, with the deal expected to be completed later this year.

Moving forward

With sales of EVs rapidly increasing across Europe, oil companies need to ensure they have a strategy in place to deal with the eventual decline of fossil-fuel reliance. This has led to several takeovers of infrastructure suppliers, bringing dedicated charging expertise on board. BP acquired Chargemaster in 2018, before rebranding as BP Pulse at the end of last year, while Total bought UK-based firm Blue Point in October 2020.

This latest acquisition helps Shell scale up its overall EV-charging offer and pushes the company beyond its forecourts and into the public domain. The company currently has 1,000 ultra-fast chargers located at around 430 of its Shell retail sites, with further access to over 185,000 third-party charging points worldwide.

Like many businesses, Shell is looking to reduce its carbon footprint, with a goal of becoming a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050 or sooner. Reducing reliance on fossil fuels as the primary driver of custom is just one strategy it is following. It is also developing fuel for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

′Most greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions come from our customers’ use of our products,’ the company stated in its plans for a net-zero future. ′So we are also looking for ways to help customers cut their GHG emissions.’

Location approach

However, ubitricity brings something different to the EV charging-point offering. The company currently works with local authorities to integrate its technology into existing street infrastructure, such as lamp posts and bollards. This reduces the cost of installation by using existing locations and grid supply, resulting in EV charging that is more affordable and accessible, particularly for those without off-street parking at their home or place of work.

′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,’ commented Istvan Kapitany, executive vice president of Shell Global Mobility. ′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.