Energy giant Shell has promised to install 50,000 electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the United Kingdom by 2030, in addition to the same amount announced last year.
The UK currently has around 31,000 public charging points. But it will need ten times that figure in the next ten years to support the UK’s switch to electric transport, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC)
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is “crucial” for government and industry to collaborate on the green transport transition, calling Shell’s move a “boost” for drivers.
It comes as sales of used electric vehicles (EVs) reached a record high in the first quarter, raising hopes that more drivers can afford one.
The upfront cost remains far higher than a fossil fuel vehicle, but the running costs are lower.
In March the UK government set a new target to increase the number of electric car chargers to 300,000 by 2030, following criticism that public infrastructure wasn’t keeping up with EV sales.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is investing £950m in rapid charging points as part of its EV infrastructure strategy.
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David Bunch, Shell UK country chair, said 75% of its investment in UK energy infrastructure over the next decade would be in low and zero carbon projects.
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Shell’s record operating profits of $9.1bn (£7.2bn) for the start of its financial year, amid the war in Ukraine and spiralling gas prices, has fuelled calls for a windfall tax. This government rejected those calls.
Like other oil majors, the company is feeling the heat to move away from climate-damaging fossil fuels. Shell is among those in the industry moving fastest, but critics warn it is nowhere near fast enough.
The CCC says 23 million vehicles should be electric by 2032, and all vehicles must by fossil fuel free by 2050, in order for the country to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Around two thirds of British households have off-street parking where they can charge their vehicles when at home, while one third need to charge on-street or elsewhere.
The 50,000 that Shell promised today are in addition to 50,000 by 2025 it announced last year, bringing the target total to 100,000 by 2030. It will make money from the electricity sales via some of these charging points.
Shell hopes 11,000 will be rapid chargers, bringing 90% of all UK drivers within a 10-minute drive of one of the units.
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