With more locations, faster speeds and easier more cost-effective payments, here’s how Shell Recharge Solutions is tackling the charging challenges faced by EV drivers – at home, at work, and on-...
- The challenge that comes with growth for the EV market
- Driving change in charging for EV owners
- The issue of charging interoperability
- The potential of home – and smart – charging
- Making EV charging more sustainable
Right now, UK car buyers are going all-in on electric. Thanks to our collective confidence in the capabilities of EVs and the UK’s charging network growing year-on-year – and a stream of ever-more compelling electric models with better range and faster charging hitting the market each month – we’re now buying more electric cars than ever before.
But while early EV adopters were probably happy to weather the uncertainties of public charging’s early days, and pioneer the UK network we enjoy today, there’s a new fast-growing wave of mainstream electric buyers among us that expect an easy seamless experience.
That’s where Shell Recharge Solutions is looking to change the game. Bringing the EV expertise of NewMotion and Greenlots under one unified identity, Shell Recharge Solutions has developed a new seamless end-to-end ecosystem that will make recharging at home, at work and on-the-go simpler, faster and more cost-effective.
The challenge that comes with growth for the EV market
In 2021, over 190,000 all-electric cars were sold in the UK – a new 12% high for market share, and more than the previous five years combined. And this year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is already suggesting that UK EV sales could eclipse those of diesels for the first time. On top of that, in 2030 the UK government’s Road to Zero emissions strategy will effectively phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. All of this shows us how the number of EVs on UK roads will continue to dramatically increase.
“The pace of change we’re seeing in the UK EV market is phenomenal, and it’s only going to increase,” says Euan Moir, UK & Nordics Regional Manager for Shell Recharge Solutions Europe. “We’re clearly in a transition phase from early adopters to mainstream users. Plus, the number of people skipping the step of a plug-in hybrid and going full electric is increasing. That means there’s a huge growth in demand – both for electric cars and for charging.”
However, questions are already being asked about the UK charging infrastructure’s ability to meet this increased demand. The UK government recently pledged £450m – on top of £1.6bn it has already committed – to ensure that 300,000 charge points are installed across the UK by the end of this decade, with 6000 additional rapid chargers in prime locations. But, while this offers a sizeable boost to the UK’s charging infrastructure, many industry experts and consumers think it’s still not enough.
Driving change in charging for EV owners
Having propelled British motorists for over 100 years, Shell is undoubtedly one of the most trusted and respected brands on the road for many of today’s drivers. Now, Shell Recharge Solutions is looking to meet the charging needs of drivers in the future by operating more than 100,000 chargers in towns, cities and on forecourts across the UK by 2030. By then, 90% of drivers will be within 10 minutes of a Shell rapid charger.
“The car used to be something you could only refuel at certain places,” says Euan. “Now, an electric car is more like a smartphone. You can charge it at home, at work, or on-the-go. For the customer, it’s all about making that journey feel as integrated and seamless as possible.”
However, it’s not all about the location of the chargers for EV drivers when it comes to feeling like the charging experience is seamless. There is much more at play; the annual survey Shell Recharge Solutions conducted with 14,000 EV drivers in five EMEA markets showed key concerns around interoperability, home charging as well as sustainability, all of which need addressing quickly by the industry.
The issue of charging interoperability
According to Shell Recharge Solutions’ 2022 research, 43% of respondents admit they carry two or three different charge cards – with 36% carrying four or more. As a result, finding the right on-the-go charging option can be a hassle, and around 38% of UK drivers said they’d prefer a single all-in-one payment system.
That’s why Shell Recharge Solutions is making paying for charging easier via their charge card and app that offers simple ways to access and pay for charging even when using charge points from other providers through the roaming network.
Using simple tap-and-go on a Shell Recharge card or the smartphone app, you can easily access all 10,000 public charging points available in Shell Recharge Solutions’ UK network, including over 230+ chargers on Shell forecourts.
The result: one-card access to 13,000 chargers, making up a third of the UK’s charging network. Even better – and all part of Shell Recharge Solutions’ plan to make charging as seamless as possible wherever you are driving – you also get access to 300,000 charge points from 395 operators across Europe.
The potential of home – and smart – charging
According to the RAC Foundation, a typical UK car spends 96% of its time parked up, with 73% of that time spent parked at home. Equally, 68% of those quizzed in the EV Driver Survey Report 2022, said they had a dedicated charge point at home.
This means that home charging – which can often be done overnight at cheaper off-peak rates, typically using more low-impact renewable energy sources – is often the optimum solution. It also ensures that your car can potentially start every journey from home, full of charge and offering its maximum range each morning.
These are just some of the reasons why home charging is also a critical component for Shell Recharge Solutions’ holistic approach to making charging easier and more cost-effective, with lower impact on the environment.
“If you charge at home overnight, when your car isn’t being used, you can probably get enough range to cover most journeys,” says Euan. “Plus, journeys from home are often shorter than we think. Doing more charging at home means you’re less reliant on on-the-go charging, with a top-up at a public charger potentially being much shorter in length.”
Around 59% of the EV drivers in Shell Recharge Solutions’ survey said smart chargers would be a good way of encouraging more people to drive EVs, just like the range of Shell Recharge home charge points. Smart chargers enable services thanks to a data connection. Examples for these services are remote balancing of the grid, dynamic charging speeds, insights into usage history, remote control and optimisation of the charge point efficiency. Additional solutions can be that the vehicle is only charged at certain times of the day to reduce strain on the grid and make use of cheaper electricity rates to help you cut your running costs.
As with on-the-go charge points, the app shows the availability of public charge points in the area, the speed of the charger, and the tariff for charging. Furthermore, the app shows an overview of past charging sessions, and estimates how much it will cost to charge your specific vehicle helping drivers control their charging costs.
The smart charge points from Shell Recharge also offer advanced online updates and repairs, meaning that 90% of issues can be rectified remotely without the need for an engineer visit – once again helping to take the hassle out of electric vehicle charging. Always-on connectivity also means that Shell Recharge charge points will always have the latest software, meaning they’re always up to date.
“The majority of EV charging will always take place at home. But with more people transitioning to EV’s a growing number of people will use charging whilst on-the-go,” says Euan. “From a consumer perspective, it’s all about making that charging process as seamless as possible. For instance, with better access with one charge card or app to all existing charging networks. This so-called roaming simplifies how people can access a public charge point nearby, without the need of additional charge cards or subscriptions.”
Making EV charging more sustainable
Finally, according to Shell Recharge Solutions’ research, around 78% of respondents said mass EV adoption is essential for the environment. Buying an electric vehicle is only part of the story, though. How sustainably you charge it is another.
In March 2022, as part of its global aim to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, Shell announced that it will invest £25 billion in the UK energy system over the next 10 years, with more than three-quarters going towards low- and zero-carbon technologies – including offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture and e-mobility.
So, with sales of EVs set for a record year, both on-the-go and home charging solutions are under increased pressure to deliver and it’s falling to energy and automotive industries to tackle the challenges head-on. That’s where Shell Recharge Solutions’ end-to-end charging network comes in, providing seamless, cost-effective, reliable and fast charging solutions across the country – making electric car charging smarter, easier and more convenient.